The Canberra Raiders insist they will not desert the Souths Logan region, which has produced some of its best players, despite the decision to stop using the Queensland Cup side as a feeder team.
Raiders boss Don Furner said it's "more than likely" NSW Cup side Mounties will be its sole feeder club next year due to logistical and financial reasons.
The move is bound to cause great concern within one of Queensland's richest junior nurseries. The Magpies will be the only Queensland Cup club next year without an NRL affiliate, which is tipped to affect their competitiveness.
Souths Logan junior Anthony Milford's move to Brisbane Broncos forced the Raiders to re-think their strategy as their frustration grew at the lack of compensation for junior development.
The area has also produced Raiders stars Edrick Lee and Josh Papalii, and recruitment manager David Hamilton was adamant they won't leave the Magpies in the lurch.
While Mounties will be a virtual Raiders reserve grade team, the club plans on sending its best under-20s talent to Souths Logan.
"We still employ a coach and some staff up there, and they'll do their job as they normally do," Hamilton said.
"We've got some players here we're going to try and place there [Souths Logan].
"Maybe there's kids who want an opportunity, we can tip them into Souths Logan and at least that puts them on show.
"It'll probably hurt depth a bit, we've got to be really smart about our recruitment now."
Souths Logan-based Raiders development officer Mark Tookey said there was no doubt the Magpies would battle on field without an NRL affiliate.
"Every Queensland Cup team other than them is affiliated with an NRL club, anyone who says Souths Logan isn't going to struggle next year is a bit of a dreamer," he said.
"If you want to compete in the Queensland Cup you have to be affiliated, there's no two ways about it."
Meanwhile, Mounties coach Steve Antonelli will be given more responsibility next year when he assumes the transitional coach role previously held by departed assistant Brett Kimmorley.
The position was implemented to provide more attention to fringe players who drift in and out of first grade.
Antonelli will be employed full time next year, based mainly in Canberra and will remain Mounties head coach.
"We're just sorting out the final details, I'll travel with the boys and be head NSW Cup coach as well," he said.
"I suggested to them I stay as NSW Cup coach, because I'm going to be working with the majority of those blokes most of the week in Canberra."