DUNOLLY coach Darren Smith says he expects the financially-embattled football netball club to survive despite a mounting debt problem.

The Eagles will start the 2017 Maryborough Castlemaine District league season several thousands dollars in the red.

They have organised a crisis meeting for Wednesday night, when the club’s finances and future will be discussed.

High player payments in recent seasons have been blamed for the financial shortfall.

But despite speculation of the club being on the brink, Smith was confident a way forward could be found for the proud club.

“I don’t know the exact number other than it is a fair deficit to start the year,” he said.

“They’ve cut the budget for the football (club) right back this year.

“They’ve cut it back by what they are behind so hopefully they can make it up by the end of this year.

“There’ll be a bit of short-term pain I imagine. It might seem a little dire at the moment, but I don’t see the club disappearing this year.”

Smith, who is in his second stint as senior coach, said the club had struggled with players numbers but was confident the shortage would be alleviated come the Eagles’ season opener.

“At the moment we have about 35 players on the list, we really only need to get another 10 or 15 on the list and we’ll be fine,” he said.

“We just missed the finals last year, but we usually have a big turnover of players every year which affects our performance,” he said.

“We’ve had about 15 of the senior players from last year leave, which makes things pretty tough.

“We’ll do what we can.”

The Eagles have not won a flag since 1969 and last contested a finals series in 2011.

Their last grand final appearance was in 2009 when narrowly beaten by Newstead.

Smith urged the Dunolly and surrounding communities to rally around the club, starting by attending this week’s meeting.

Club officials areurging everyone to have their say on the future of the town’s football netball club.

Wednesday night’s meeting starts at 6pm at the Dunolly club rooms.

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