Where has interleague rivalry gone?

May 05, 2016

With the interleague football season fast approaching, it seems a pity that the leading country leagues will be playing against top metropolitan leagues.

The AFL has decided on this change, seemingly with little discussion from country leagues, and an example is that the Goulburn Valley League will travel to Essendon District League for its first appearance under the new format.

It appears this will end or vastly reduce the possibility of some of the great country league rivalries such as those between Goulburn Valley against Ovens and Murray, and Murray against Hampden or Sunraysia.

Many sterling contests have been played at interleague level over the years.

I can remember seeing Kyabram football identity Peter Lyon lead Bendigo to a big win over the Wimmera League at Horsham in the late 1950s.

Also seeing Bendigo star forward Ron Best, MLC, similarly influence a win for Bendigo over Wimmera in the 1970s.

Closer to home, keen followers of the Goulburn Valley, Ovens and Murray and Murray leagues would remember wonderful games of high standard played over the decades in the open spaces and clear conditions of country grounds.

Such matches were once looked forward to eagerly, but the new inter-league regime is unlikely to command such interest.

Submitted by Bill McCarthy


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