AFL Victoria has dumped generations of bush footy tradition by announcing it has scrapped interleague football.
The decision has sparked widespread disappointment overwhelming disappointment at the lack of representative football to be played in 2020.
However, the AFL is urging leagues to explore organising and staging their own competitions.
Heathcote District Football Netball League chairman Peter Cole said long-term work for the competition would now go without reward.
“We are very disappointed by the announcement AFL Victoria will no longer support interleague football,” he said.
“As a league, we have worked extremely hard to develop a strong interleague culture during the past few years, with many players and administrators volunteering their time and energy to support it.”
“Interleague to us was not only the opportunity to showcase our best footballers and netballers, but to also give our younger players opportunities at the highest level”.
“Interleague also gave us the opportunity to further strengthen and maintain the close relationships we have between clubs, our interleague selectors and coaches,” he added.
“Obviously, other leagues do not feel the same way about interleague as we do, which is disappointing, and much like the Big V, I fear this decision will result in the end of representative football for the long-term.
“As a league, we have no interest in playing a scratch match against another league.
“The opportunity and prestige of representing our league has been lost in the decision and I will be seeking further detail from AFL Victoria as to what they plan to do with the financial savings abolishing interleague will bring – and how grassroots league’s such as ours will benefit.”
The state's governing body said in a statement to the Riverine Herald their decision came after consulting multiple competitions.
“AFL Victoria has taken feedback on representative football from clubs and leagues across the state. Accordingly, AFL Victoria will not facilitate the Community Championships in 2020 while it undergoes various changes,” the statement said.
“AFL Victoria will continue to financially support Leagues who wish to pursue representative programs. The Metropolitan Junior Championships and V/Line Cup representative programs for juniors will remain.”