BRENDAN Fevola has made the Ovens and Murray League an offer it shouldn’t refuse — so long as he is fair dinkum.
It should appoint the champion goalkicker its interleague-team coach.
After years of mixed results — last season’s shock 45-point loss to the Peninsula league the tipping point — the time has come for action at representative level.
So much so, the previous sentence sounds a bit like a broken record.
The standard of the Ovens and Murray right now is fantastic.
It’s the most prolific country football league in Australia — and that is a fact.
We’ve got the best ex-AFL talent going around, still boast some of the toughest and most skilled country footballers in Australia and, as Kayne Turner and Zac O’Brien proved recently by being drafted — a viable pathway into the AFL for talented youngsters.
The crowds are back, too.
Clearly, there is little wrong with the health of the competition.
There is, however, plenty wrong with its attitude towards representative football.
Lavington champ Matt Pendergast and league officials have worked tirelessly for three years to get the best team possible on the park.
And while it certainly wasn’t through a lack of effort — Pendergast is one of the most passionate O and M people I’ve met — the reality is they couldn’t get all of the best players playing.
I don’t see that being an issue with Fevola as coach.
Some will be disappointed should the former AFL star get the gig, considering he is yet to represent the league since joining Yarrawonga, and that’s fair enough.
Playing one-off games around Australia while the league is in desperate need of its best players isn’t a great look.
But, for me, this is an opportunity too good for the O and M to refuse.
There’ll be added media exposure, fans flocking through the gates to watch the game and, most importantly, one hell of a football team on the park.
Pettifer, Koschitzke and O’hAilpin are just some of the names you can expect Fevola to get in the team.
He simply won’t let them say no.
Sure, Fevola has rubbed plenty of opposition clubs up the wrong way since joining the competition, but you’re kidding yourself if you think players from the league’s nine other clubs wouldn’t queue up to play with — not against — one of the game’s greatest goal kickers.
There is one major sticking point.
This proposition needs a long-term commitment.
If Fevola wants to take the league back to No. 1 like he says — then he needs to see the journey through.
With full respect to the Hampden league, the Ovens and Murray should have little trouble accounting for the boys from Warrnambool again next season, particularly at home on the Border.
Mind you, many said the same thing about the Peninsula league last season.
But there’s no point Fevola coaching the league to a win this year, only to lose interest a year later and the league again find itself in the same predicament.
Sure, there’s always going to be some risk attached to anything involving Fev, but this might just be a risk worth taking.