At this stage, next year is the earliest the Vikings will return to playing first grade in the Illawarra District Rugby Union (IDRU) competition.
Though Vikings president Spiro Lozenkovski hasn't given up hope of fielding a side in the top grade during the second half of this season.
The president spoke to the Mercury recently about some of the issues affecting the inner-city Wollongong club and the board's long-term plans to return the IDRU's oldest club back to the top, sooner rather than later.
Lozenkovski said COVID, wet weather, juniors not coming through and the IDRU not having a under 17s and 18s competition was hurting all teams, particularly Vikings.
Vikings were also hamstrung by the fact they are an inner-city club "that is full of units and buildings occupied by older families".
"So we really haven't got a big area to draw from. That's why we are looking outside the square for solutions," Lozenkovski said.
"It doesn't help that we are also losing juniors because there isn't a pathway there but there are a lot of components that have caused our issues.
"We are working hard on a couple of different programs which we will be announcing very soon. We are working on getting juniors back up and running again and recruiting more players, in the senior level.
'The programs seem to be starting to get some legs. We have discussed our concerns with the IDRU, who have that Ramsay Foundation project, which we recently discussed with [Illawarra Rugby development officer] Shaun McCreedy, about reviving that project and getting it started again.
"The project is about getting a competition going in the schools again. We used to draw a lot of juniors through this program.
"It's important we get this program back."
Lozenkovski stressed there were no short-term fixes.
We are already starting to recover. Vikings won't go down.- Vikings president Spiro Lozenkovski
'Most of the plans are long-term plans. As the Vikings, I don't think we will make first grade this year," he said.
"If numbers were to come in, and there is a few more numbers coming in, but not enough to put out a first-grade side. And the numbers have got to be first graders, not second, third or fourth graders.
"If we can put a first grade side in, we're more than happy to do that in the second round of the season, but at the moment, it's still all about working on trying to get those numbers in.
"For now we are fielding a good second grade side. Time will tell but hopefully we get to a stage in the second round of the season where we are fielding two teams again, first-grade and reserve grade."
Lozenkovski reassured fans the famed Wollongong-based club was on the up and would return to its lofty heights in no time.
"We're fairly confident that next year we will field two teams," he said.
"We're already miles in front of where we started at the beginning of the season.
"We are already starting to recover. Vikings won't go down."
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