For many, there seems no end in sight to years of Blues underachievement. But, as Gregor Paul writes, there are reasons for optimism if the right structures are put in place.
There's no team quite like the Blues at giving the impression they are beyond repair.
More than a decade of under-achievement and internecine politics and heaps of local talent popping up elsewhere has left many thinking the Blues should be scrunched into a ball and kicked for touch.
Sitting as low as they are on the table and with the most tragic away record in recent seasons (two wins in three years), they don't obviously appeal as the sort of coaching challenge many with career aspirations would want to take on.
The Blues have been a hospital pass since 2003 and it's hard to imagine there will be a time when the coach isn't standing perplexed and apologetic, trudging over familiar lines as to why the campaign was yet another disaster.
Certainly few who have spent money at Eden Park recently would be harbouring much optimism that 2016 will be different to 2015, especially not given that it now seems certain Sir John Kirwan is going to get at least another year at the helm.
It's valid for everyone to question what, other than the arrival of a few new assistant coaches, is going to change at the Blues for them to turn things around.
The most compelling answer to that is youth - and giving Kirwan a mandate to pick it. More than pick it - Kirwan's mandate has to be more patient and nurturing. He has to be prepared to invest time, energy and attention in the emerging generation of Auckland-bred players who have the potential to turn the Blues into title winners.
Auckland Rugby, for all that they are bagged for failing to identify and develop talent, are churning out players the Blues need.
The statistics are compelling on that front. In 2010, there was one Aucklander in the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and none in the under-20s.
Last year, there were 20 Aucklanders across the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and New Zealand Barbarians and there are seven in the current New Zealand Under-20 squad.
Last year, there were 51 ITM Cup players who had begun professional life with the Auckland Academy.
And maybe the most important statistic of all is that, since 2010, eight out of every 10 schoolboys promoted to the Auckland Academy go on to play in the ITM Cup within two years.
The system is working. Auckland's development programme is tasked with finding and preparing players for ITM Cup and that's happening.
Where the system has broken down is at the critical juncture of transition from ITM Cup to Blues.
There are clearly cracks in the system highlighted by the fact Auckland products Gareth Anscombe and Malakai Fekitoa are likely to be at the World Cup - the former with Wales - yet both were rejected by Kirwan.
Other Auckland products such as Taniela Tupou, Leon Fukofuka and Vince Aso were picked up by the Reds, Chiefs and Hurricanes respectively.
The Blues, for whatever reason, have largely been on the wrong page when it comes to contracting local talent. The comprehensive review of the Blues' season has no doubt concluded they have too often passed over the best options and haven't always worked closely enough with Auckland to lock in players and build a collaborative pathway.
The review may also have highlighted a lack of patience and desire to develop young players who struggle to quickly make the jump from ITM Cup to Super Rugby.
Perseverance with Fekitoa would have paid a big dividend - as it would with both Waisake Naholo and Marty McKenzie who were also imported, then ditched after one season.
With better management, luck, selection and patience, the Blues backline this year could have been Bryn Hall, McKenzie, Lolagi Visinia, George Moala, Fekitoa, Naholo and Charles Piutau.
The Blues - the wider Auckland region - is, if nothing else, loaded with the promise of youth. In their midst are players with frightening, landscape-changing potential if they are backed and given a fair crack.
Akira Ioane gave an 80-minute performance against the Force last week that suggested, in time, he may shift the expectations of what is possible from a blindside flanker.
His speed, power and agility were exceptional but more important was the crunch he brought to the close exchanges. New Zealand have turned out exceptional, rangy athletes in recent years - Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito and Steven Luatua. But even Kaino took until his mid-20s before he found the consistency required to constantly impose himself.
Ioane, by no means having that box ticked, would be further towards it than any of his predecessors were at the same age.
"We give him a free licence to roam just like he does in sevens so we are keeping him out a bit wider where he can find mismatches," said Kirwan of Ioane.
"But the thing I liked the most was what he was doing in the tight. Working hard, making his tackles ... just being physical, which is what we have asked him to do."
Next year, the Blues will also have access to one of the more promising opensides they have produced in an age. Blake Gibson is the former St Kentigern College captain who played for Auckland straight out of school and is currently with the New Zealand under-20s.
Like Ioane, the appeal of Gibson is more than just his natural athleticism. It's his work ethic, desire and highly-developed understanding of the game that coaches are drawn to.
Their national under-20 team-mate, Mitchell Hunt, has potential as a long-term No 10. He is a product of Nelson College who chose to shift north as much for his education as his rugby. He's studying for an engineering degree and that balance could be critical in helping him deal with the pressures and intensities that come with being a playmaker at this level.
Further down the pipeline sits Rieko Ioane, the younger brother of Akira who was the star of this year's Wellington Sevens and is a long-term prospect for the midfield. As is TJ Faine.
What shouldn't be lost in projecting into 2016 is how young many of the Blues' 'established' players are.
Steven Luatua has only just turned 24, Moala is 24, Patrick Tuipulotu 22, Visinia 22, Tevita Li 20 and Ofa Tu'ungafasi 22. Even Charlie Faumuina, at 28, is a player with incredible potential.
If youth is given its chance and guided by the likes of Kaino, Tony Woodcock and the returning Rene Ranger, the Blues may experience a dramatic change in fortunes next year.
"What we have been driving into the young guys is that we don't really want the results of this season to burn on them and what they are capable of doing," says Kaino.
"It is good our young guys have been part of this season and exposed to some adversity. It has been character-building. We know we have the talent and, hopefully, we can learn from this and move forward next year."