Better days ... Yass Magpies player Hale Teofilo scores a try against the Queanbeyan Blues in 2012. The club has sat out this year's competition but hopes to return in 2015. Photo: Jay Cronan
YASS Magpies are hopeful of returning to the Canberra Raiders Cup fold in 2015 after financial constraints and lack of player depth forced them to sit out this year's competition.
But the club won't be rushed into a return to the first-grade ranks if it does not find the money and talent to be competitive against the league's heavyweights.
After a strong 2012 where they made the semi-finals, the Magpies opted to sit out the 2013 season to rebuild. They hope that process will begin by fielding an under-18 side next year, with first grade to hopefully follow in 2015.
''That was the only way we got our head back above water this year was we didn't have to pay out 100-odd grand for players,'' Yass president Greg Smith said.
''Next year is too quick for us to go straight back up, because I see us going down again within a year if we do it too early.
''You hear about the money that's going around in some Canberra teams, we just can't compete with that.
''It's going to be a steady process, and player depth is the other side of it. We're not willing to go back up and get flogged all the time.''
Canberra Region Rugby League executive officer Karen Ebsworth is hopeful Yass will meet the criteria to return to the competition in 2015.
''They need to rebuild their financial base and also their [player] numbers. They're hoping to have an under-18 team next year so that would be a start,'' she said.
''Yass is a traditional area for our game, we would desperately love to see them back in.''