With the Mittagong Lions first grade side flying high in Group 6 it seemed that season 2021 could finally be the year the famous club broke a 26-year title drought.
Some strong wins over fellow contenders had the Lions primed heading into the second half of the campaign before the initial Sydney lockdown called a halt to proceedings.
Last week the news filtered through that Group 6, along with a number of NSW Rugby League competitions, would not resume.
With a number of home games still to be played, the Lions were immediately put on the back foot financially.
However within days, Mittagong Seniors President Matt Aiken had sponsors pledging their support for 2022 without a moment's hesitation.
"When I reached out to ten or so of our major sponsors recently to talk about this situation we're in and moving forward, I had several say to me, 'if you send an invoice out tomorrow I'll pay for next year," he told the Southern Highland News.
"Our amazing players, staff, supporters, sponsors and volunteers, they all prove time and time again we stick together through thick and thin.
"That brings tears to my eyes even now saying it. We're family and I can't do this without all of the above. It will take more than a pandemic to fold this club. I'll be forever grateful to this club and community."
Despite the disappointment of a second season being affected by the pandemic, Aiken said he was thankful that the club and community would remain safe.
"From the get-go I had a bad feeling about this season ending like this," he said.
"It was no real surprise to our players when they called it on Monday, but we are all saddened that it is for season 2021.
"That said we take comfort that we're all safe and well, and there are people doing it a ton tougher than us, lives and business are perishing.
"We're a resilient bunch, we are all family here at the Lions, so we will continue to look out for each other. Hopefully everybody stays fit and embarks on the longest personal preseason in rugby league history."
It wasn't just first grade grabbing the headlines with the club rebuilding after a tough 2020 campaign.
Aiken said he was confident the Lions would be back and stronger than ever next year.
"Firsts were sitting in fourth place, reggies and our ladies tackle were on fire," he explained.
"Ladies tag, thirds and 18's had some work in front of them but all in all we were looking great. We had a mile of home games in the second round too, so that hurts financially.
"Not much we can do about it now but reminisce. There's always next season in sport they say, that's the beauty of it!
"I've gone on record a dozen times saying we will win comps here at the Lions over the next couple of years, and believe me nothing has changed there."
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