Resources were thin and player numbers were low, and for a few fleeting years it seemed the Queanbeyan Tigers were on the brink of extinction.
The Tigers battled back from adversity and will pay tribute to the people that got them through when they wear heritage jumpers against the Belconnen Magpies at The Nest on Saturday.
The jumper is a nod to the one worn in 1966-68 when the Tigers were part of an ill-fated merger with the Turner Football Club and celebrates AFL Canberra's Heritage Round.
It's easy to pay lip service to a nearly forgotten era but the links to the days of the Queanbeyan-Turner merger run strong through the Tigers of today.
The original jumper featured Geelong-style blue and white hoops and a simple yellow "Q" over the heart.
The heritage design has been slightly modified to include a large "Q" on the front, inside which is an old team photo from the days of the merger in a tribute to past players.
Pictured inside the "Q" is Renato Res - the grandfather of Queanbeyan women's player Carly Res.
Treasurer and 161-gamer Col Imrie's father Dave was the club president that helped Queanbeyan back to its own two feet after the merger ended.
First grade assistant coach Paul Campbell's father Ken played during the merger era for the club's Colts team, winning the most improved player award in 1968.
Campbell's grandfather, also named Ken, became club president in 1971 and oversaw the club's move from Queanbeyan Park to Margaret Donoghoe Oval - where they remain today.
There was no licensed club across from the ground back then - players would go upstairs at a pub on the main street of Queanbeyan for a post-match drink.
Campbell grew up hearing stories about how tough it was back then, but it was those struggles that forged bonds between mates that still exist today.
"You can give it away when times are tough or you can fight on a bit," Campbell said.
"Not only struggling for players and volunteers, you struggled financially a little bit and you just tried to sustain what you got and hope that you come out the other end.
"Where we are today is a credit to everybody who stuck strong back then. I think the current players wouldn't really be aware of how tough it might have been.
"My dad still has friends he played with and they still see each other regularly. Listening to those guys as well, they're really happy that the club is in the place that it is today."
It's appropriate Queanbeyan wears the jumper against the Magpies, because when the merger disbanded Turner became the Belconnen Football Club in 1970.
It is Queanbeyan's second fresh outfit in under a month after sporting a pink camouflage design in honour of women in the defence force on June 18.