FOOTBALL: "Disheartening.” The word Gympie Diggers Football Club coach Danny Baker used to describe his thoughts on Coolum FC's exit from the top flight competition.
Coolum men's coach Alex Murphy will use this year to rebuild his club after it officially withdrew its Division 1 side from the McDonald's Premier Men's competition four days ahead of the season opener.
Sunshine Coast Football president Chris Dunk informed clubs of the Dolphins' decision via email and the top men's side will now compete in Division 2.
Club officials have cited this year's 27-round draw as one of the main reasons for their side's departure.
Murphy first raised concerns in January this year, when a large number of players signalled their intentions to play Division 3 due to the new 27-round competition, up from 18 rounds last year.
Earlier this year Diggers were in a similar position to their southern rivals.
Forced into crisis talks, it took several key senior players to restate their commitment to the club before salvaging the season from the brink of disaster.
"It (Coolum's departure) is annoying for us, for them and everyone involved,” Baker said.
"Past history has shown that clubs dropping out of the top league have regrouped and re-entered the top division within a year or two. (Caloundra did so a number of years ago when they were at Central Park and the rest is now history),” Sunshine Coast Football president Chris Dunk said.
The Dolphins' departure means the 10-team competition has been reduced to nine, and each Division 1 team will receive a bye.
Round one starts this Saturday.