THE Queanbeyan Tigers will play an emotional match this Saturday at Dairy Farmers Park when they run onto the field for the last time in the NEAFL to play the Eastlake Demons.
But having been beaten respectably in recent weeks against ladder leaders the UWS Giants and Ainslie, the men in yellow and black will be as eager as they have ever been to get a win, in a game that will likely be the last for a large group of players at the club.
It all comes after the Tigers chose to seek release from their three year NEAFL contract two years early, with the club citing financial reasons in discontinuing its time in the competition.
But with a 12.9.81 to 9.10.64 loss to Ainslie, which followed a 17.12.114 to 11.11.77 loss to the Giants, the Tigers have risen to avoid the 70-plus point beltings, of which they have suffered six this season.
Tigers co-coach Kade Klemke admitted the club's announcement it would leave the NEAFL had actually taken pressure off his players, which he believes has helped their performances.
"Since we broke the news a weight fell off of everyone's shoulders. I think there were a lot of questions and rumours going around, and when that was gone the boys just turned around and said 'all right, let's just enjoy footy'," said Klemke.
"It's the last game [on Saturday], and we haven't had many wins this year, so the boys are keen for a win."
Saturday's game will draw the curtain on what has been a successful NEAFL tenure overall for the club.
It recruited current co-coaches Klemke and Josh Bryce from the Victorian Football League in 2012, and they were able to lead the club to it's greatest ever moment when it beat the Sydney Swans reserves to claim the 2012 NEAFL Eastern Conference title.
But tough times could now be ahead, with many of the club's NEAFL players set to leave, plus the resignation of 42-year club serviceman Ron Fowlie, who will be replaced by Michael Goiser as general manager.
While no player departures have been confirmed, four players, including Klemke, Bryce, Toby Conroy and Jarrod Atkinson had all moved up from Victoria to play NEAFL, and it is likely these players will look for contracts with other clubs now.
A number of younger players are also part of the GWS Giants Academy, and have that avenue back to the NEAFL.
Klemke and Bryce have confirmed they will stay living in Canberra.
"A lot of players have big decisions to make for next year, but I'm sure they're all mature enough to do that," said Klemke.