Hervey Bay could struggle to be competitive in 2018
A MASS exodus of players could put Hervey Bay Seagulls' hopes of fielding a competitive A-grade team in danger.
Up to 10 junior and established A-grade players have already left the three-time Bundaberg Rugby League minor premiers, and more are expected follow suit.
Six junior Seagulls, of which four have played A-grade in the past three years, will join Intrust Super Cup clubs or compete in the restructured Queensland Rugby League under-20s competition.
Dylan Glynn, Hedi Moani-Kafoa and Tuia Eliu will link with Western Mustangs' U20s for the Hastings Deering Colts competition. Young guns Braden Whittaker and Michael O'Shea are set to join Wynnum-Manly Seagulls, while Tiko Hooper is off to Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Veteran Seagulls Clinton Horne and Billy Stefaniuk signed with Waves Tigers for the 2018 season.
The duo played major roles in Hervey Bay's charge to the 2016 BRL A-grade premiership, as well as the minor premiership in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Horne, arguably the best halfback in the BRL, overcame a serious injury at the start of the 2017 season to lead his team to the minor title.
Stefaniuk is one of the best finishers in the BRL.
He finished the 2015 season as the competition's most prolific try-scorer with 27 four-pointers, and was equal-second in 2016 (14 tries) and 2017 (21 tries).
Maryborough Brothers confirmed Dan Goodwin will join the club in 2018, while utility half Robbie O'Donnell has trained at Valleys Diehards in Brisbane.
Former coach Jai Ingram has already indicated he will not return to Hervey Bay Seagulls.
More players are expected the leave the club, who are yet to appoint an A-grade coach for the 2018 season.
Hervey Bay is expected to announce its coaching lineup next week.
The lack of a confirmed coach has seriously hampered the club's recruitment and retention.
Players are unlikely to commit until a coach is installed, but, at least in the Seagulls' case to date, it could be too late.