Belconnen Magpies coach Jeremy Rowe believes a reduction of Canberra teams in the North-East Australian Football League isn't the answer to their on-field woes.
Rowe is adamant the clubs will emerge ''bigger and better'' and avoid being axed, merged or demoted to lower divisions by nurturing junior talent.
The Magpies made last year's NEAFL northern conference grand final before the conference system was abolished, while Queanbeyan won the northern conference title in 2012.
Both sides are winless and at the bottom of the ladder after two heavy defeats apiece, and booted four goals between them in 100 point-plus losses last week.
Ainslie [2-1] is the only Canberra team with a positive win-loss record after three rounds.
But Rowe, who took over at Belconnen from the departed Matt Lokan this year, believes it's far too early for panic.
"I'm not as concerned as what some seem to be in regards to our future,'' he said.
"I just think it's up to the footy clubs, including ourselves, to come up to the standard needed, develop our players and come back bigger and better next year.
"There's plenty of talk the Canberra sides may be minimised at some point and I can't speak for other clubs, but no one wants to rely on other teams going out of the competition to make them stronger.
"Without a doubt we need to acknowledge, at the moment, we're up against it in the short term.
"They're all proud football clubs, every single team in Canberra is proud enough to work through this difficult period and have their own identities in the NEAFL.''
Queensland teams have grown stronger and dominated the competition early after five of its teams dropped down to lower divisions at the end of last year.
Tuggeranong Hawks also returned to the Canberra league due to financial difficulties this season.
Rowe said both teams would be viewing Saturday's clash as a must-win to kick start their campaign.
"No doubt the grand final last year and two 100-point losses this year is a big change, but the group has shown they're very reslilient, and trying to improve themselves so these results don't keep happening,'' Rowe said.
"Both teams will be turning up desperate and motivated.''
Queanbeyan coach Kade Klemke backed Rowe's belief the talent is there for Canberra clubs to rebuild and enjoy a prosperous long-term future.
"Looking at the lists the Canberra clubs are very young at the moment, it's going to take time,'' he said.
"I think the talent coming through is really good. At the moment we're not competing against the Queensland sides, but I definitely think we can in the future.
"Whoever loses this week is looking down the barrel, these games you have to win and I'm sure Belconnen are on the same page.''
NEAFL ROUND FOUR
Saturday: Queanbeyan v Belconnen at Margaret Donoghue Oval, 2pm; Sydney University v Eastlake at Drummoyne Oval, 2pm.