EVER since they joined Group Seven from Group 16 in 1938, the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs have been one of the pillars of the South Coast Rugby League competition.
During that time, the Bulldogs had competed in the first grade competition 68 times, including this season, winning five premierships (the last being in 2008), as well as four minor premierships and two other grand final berths.
But since their last title, more than 10 years ago, the Bill Andriske Oval based club has been on a downwards trajectory - shown by five straight seasons of missing the finals, which included a winless season in 2016.
And the past nine months could be the Dogs' worst in recent history.
At the end of the 2018 season, which saw the Bulldogs finish the first grade season second-last on the ladder, there was a lot of uncertainty around the club's future.
"At a meeting on September 24, 2018 at the Mollymook Surf Lifesaving Club, we were told the club was struggling financially and if players didn't stand up and take ownership of our club, that there is no promised future of this club," said Adam Tracey, who at that point was just a player before being appointed as Bulldogs junior vice-president in October.
"It was at this time the committee explained they didn't think the players were doing enough to help the club thrive - so that's when I jumped on board to try and fix these issues of my beloved club.
"I care about this club and want to see it thriving again."
From that point on, Tracey helped organise sponsors for the club, the weekly seafood raffle and designed the club's training shirts.
He put his heart and soul into getting the club back to where it should be.
Despite all this, Tracey could see there were issues boiling under the surface - primarily around the contracts of the club's first grade side.
This came the fore when former president Mick Hampson stepped down from his role, due to work commitments, one month before the season started - following a long line of identities such as David and Cheyanne Hatch, Steine Lofts, Ebony Murray, who are not part of the club this season.
"The win price was okay but the loss price was low for two to three nights training plus the game, off the back of the club's recent lack of success," Tracey, who was bumped up to vice president following Hampson's resignation, said.
"It was said the loss price was easy to cover if the team doesn't perform.
"It was a hard budget to work with but somehow between [former coach] Brendan Fernley and the tick of approval by Mick Hampson, we managed to do the impossible and get a decent roster."
The club had two players - PJ Thornton and Tyler Clark - outside the allocated budget with sponsors lined up to cover the difference.
"Despite Mick resigning the current president [Adam Woodward] said he would honour all contracts," said Tracey.
"During a committee meeting, Fernley bought up about the contracts of PJ Thornton and Tyler Clark and he was told if he ran the season launch and made the money that it could fit the bill and would make the difference - it all was sorted or so we all thought.
"But after round two, it comes out that the executive committee have decided they aren't going to honour the two front rowers' contracts.
"But despite me being one of the four executives, I wasn't included in the conversation, as they thought it would be a conflict of interest - which didn't sit right with me, especially as the president had a player in the first grade side.
"The amount of money wasn't that much and those two players meant a lot to the club, with a host of players signing on on to play with them."
In a lot of people's eyes, including Tracey's, this decision to let Thornton and Clark walk signalled the demise of the Dogs - with then coach Fernley stepping down from the role soon after.
"From that decision onwards, it was never the same - it was the committee against players," Tracey, who spent 13 years in Bulldogs colours, said.
"It was worse than ever and we were having leadership meetings in damage control.
"Players couldn't trust that their payments would be honoured and it ultimately led to our front rowers leaving, which meant losing games - which like the committee said the loss price was easy to cover.
"That decision wouldn't have been made from ex-players, people who really understand the game and know how important they were to our team - honesty and trust is everything in rugby league."
Following Fernley's resignation, core first grade players such as Todd and Trent Ryan, Jayde Tooth, Oscar Fiztpatrick, Lepani Waqa, Tracey, Wade Walker and Harley Grundy, all left the kennel.
During this time, Tracey also handed in his vice president's resignation, suggesting they hire or appoint someone who wouldn't be left out of decisions that affected the club and playing group moving forward.
"I couldn't understand it - I had the players doing more than ever and it still wasn't enough to get the respect and honesty of the executives," said Tracey, who has now joined the Sussex Inlet Panthers.
"My motivation was to raise as much money as possible to get a competitive roster and get the first grade team back in the top five.
"We had got good role models back at the club that wanted to be there and the juniors could look up to but now it appears all my efforts during the off-season and pre-season have amounted to nothing - which is really disappointing."
All of this has seen the Bulldogs forfeit their past two first grade fixtures, against Albion Park-Oak Flats and Shellharbour, with the club left licking their wounds and just wanting to play reserve grade for the remainder of the 2019 season.
This presents Group Seven and Country Rugby League with an interesting decision; allow Milton-Ulladulla to just play reserve grade this season with a side full of first grade talent or force them to honour their nomination of a first grade team in 2019 - with a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday to decide the club's fate.
The Bulldogs are also expected to present a five-year plan of how they intend to get the once proud club back to where it was at this meeting.
These issues haven't just affected the club's first grade side, with former under 18s coach Scott D'Ombrain being controversially sacked last month.
Responding to Tracey's comments, president Adam Woodward said, "I'm not about to get into a slanging match with people who have decided to move on but rather concentrate on how I can help the club move forward.
"People with sour grapes, peddling untruths and false allegations is sad but it happens.
"Sometimes they thrive on being divisive which is also pretty sad.
"All the players that played and won in three grades on Sunday are united and with assistance from Group Seven and NRL Development are committed to the best way forward for the Doggies. "
"We wish the former players all the best moving forward."
The Bulldogs defeated Shellharbour in all three grades on Sunday, including 28-22 in reserve grade, 32-6 in under 18s and 34-nil in WLT1.