“Time for the deadwood to go, new generation coming through,” was how one young player put it on Twitter last night.
This may appear somewhat tactless but seems to encapsulate a gathering feeling that something is changing in snooker and that younger faces have every right to fancy their chance to establish themselves.
The reason is quite simple: greater opportunity. With more tournaments there is more chance to play your way into the circuit.
This opportunity also exists for those players who have been on the tour for two decades or longer but these old stagers know that they also have their cards marked by the younger generation.
As players get older they tend to lose consistency and, indeed, some of the hunger they had when they were starting out.
This is inevitable. Do any job for 20 years and, however exciting it may seem to an outsider, it becomes just that: a job.
That’s why you have to admire Jimmy White, who still seems to love snooker as much now as when he started out on the circuit 30 years ago.
But there is an army of young talent now believing that this time is theirs. They take strength in numbers and are full of determination.
There’s Liam Highfield, a black ball winner over Xiao Guodong in the Australian Open qualifiers last night, Jack Lisowski, Anthony McGill, Daniel Wells and Adam Duffy for starters.
And, of course, it’s not just the Brits who are hungry. Young players from China are staking their claim. There’s Luca Brecel, too, from Belgium and Poland’s Kacper Filipiak, both of whom are just 16.
Behind them in the amateur ranks there are players who look now at snooker and feel it could be a career.
And right at the head of this army is its 21 year-old general: Judd Trump, a snooker protégé who has inspired so many to dream that they too can share the limelight in the sport’s showpiece occasions.
We’ve been here before. As the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, many of the much loved cast of characters that had built snooker’s reputation in the television age were one by one forced off the stage by new, younger players who had watched spellbound in living rooms far and wide, ambitious and determined.
In the 1980s, as now, snooker looked like a game going places, something worth being part of.
Stephen Hendry summed up the fearless new brand of player, unconcerned by reputation or the supposed way to play.
James Wattana, Alan McManus, Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon were among those to follow. Each are still on the circuit but now desperate to keep their feet above the surface as the young pretenders snap at their heels.
The biggest agent for bringing through young blood was opening the game up to anyone with a cue and the money to enter tournaments.
So it was in 1992 that the outstanding trinity of teenagers John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams began their professional careers.
Others came through, too, including Stephen Lee and, a few years later, Graeme Dott, Matthew Stevens and Paul Hunter.
Since then the intake of new talent has slowed. We’ve had some brilliant young players reach the top – Stephen Maguire, Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson for instance – but not all in a rush.
Maybe the environment is now better suited to this being rectified than at any time since the open era.
There are more playing opportunities and a chance for young players to learn on the job as it were, playing the big boys in the PTCs and gaining experience and confidence in the process.
It’s impossible to say just how many of the young hopefuls playing in the qualifiers and PTCs right now will become top players but it stands to reason that several will.
All sports renew themselves. That’s how they survive.
How many of the current top 16 will be there ten years from now?
A glance back a decade reveals that seven of the top 16 from the 2001/02 season are in the elite group as the 2011/12 campaign begins: Hendry, Williams, Higgins, O’Sullivan, Ebdon, Stevens and Dott.
Of these, only Hendry, Higgins and O’Sullivan have had unbroken spells in the top 16 in this ten year period.
As good as they may be, are we to suppose Higgins, Williams and O’Sullivan will all still be there ten years from now, in their mid 40s?
Maybe they will be, but there will also be players who are now teenagers, perhaps some yet to even turn professional.
It’s good news. We need new faces and we need new rivalries too.
But, as ever, it will be a survival of the fittest. For every young talent who makes it, there are always those promising players who never quite did.
As to which of the new generation break through, only time - and results - will tell.