The revitalisation of the Forster Tuncurry Dolphins and the introduction of junior competitions in the Lower Mid North Coast rugby union area will be priorities of the MNC Zone's new executive officer, Bruce Worboys.
"Junior players are essential to our development across the zone. They are our strength and our future," Mr Worboys said from his home in Coffs Harbour.
"The Forster Dolphins have been a force in the Lower MNC since the zone was divided in 2008- seven premierships in the last 13 seasons is evidence of that.
"They have a strong president and committee and it is most encouraging that they have announced coaches for next season after their decision to stand down from last year's competition.
"Likewise, it is pleasing that they have indicated they will field a women's team again this winter.
"It is essential that they return and, similarly, the clubs which withdrew from the Upper M.N.C. premiership."
Mr Worboys was speaking upon the retirement of his predecessor, the zone's executive officer of the last decade, Bob Wilson.
"Bob has left the zone in a healthy state, but it is imperative the clubs return which stood down last winter due to concerns about the pandemic," he said.
"And, of crucial importance, is the re-employment of development officers by the Australian Rugby Union. They were laid off in all zones during the pandemic."
While the formation of the Lower MNC junior rugby union was a pleasing development of recent seasons, there has been no specific competition for juniors under the auspices of the zone in the region.
As a former representative prop forward, Mr Worboys remarked with some feeling: "You don't develop and produce scrummaging forwards overnight.
"I see juniors as a major strength of the Upper MNC area with the under 14, 16 and 18 teams flourishing. It is essential we have a similar development nursery in the Lower MNC."
Meanwhile, the Dolphins will celebrate their return to rugby union in the Lower Mid North Coast region with involvement in the helter-skelter tournament of seven-a-side football at next month's Crescent Head Sevens carnival, scheduled for February 27.
Organised by the Kempsey Cannonballs, the day-long carnival has become the MNC zone's traditional rugby opener for the season on the coast with the Lower Mid North Coast's premiership competition beginning on April 17.
Mr Worboys said: "The Kempsey Cannonballs' carnival signals the start of rugby union each winter on the coast. It is a popular way for the rugby code to begin and has great spectator appeal.