CASH-strapped clubs already struggling to keep pace are facing a reduced annual dividend from the Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League after a disastrous grand final day financially.
The official crowd of 4175 for the Albury-Lavington decider was well down on the 10,022 people who watched the same teams battle for the premiership last year.
Also, grand final gate-takings of $35,900 were the lowest since 1995 when a similar wet day returned $28,025.
They haven't dipped below $60,000 since 2009 and spiked above $85,000 in the 2012-13 seasons.
The combined gate-takings for the previous five finals matches were more than $20,000 down on last season.
Morning rain played some part, but the sustained dominance of Albury is proving a turnoff to rival club supporters and the general public.
"It is certainly the lowest gate-takings we've had for a long, long time," O and M chairman Graeme Patterson said.
"The rain stopped for the last half of the footy, but people generally make their decision that they are coming to the footy around lunchtime and it was still raining.
"We had six of 10 clubs represented, but there is no doubt the dominance of Yarrawonga, Albury and Lavington, particularly in the senior football over the last decade, is hurting.
"People are saying they would like to see a different mix of teams.
"The league is committed to try and follow the equalisation and sustainability policy.
"We are fully supportive of player points system and salary cap."
Mr Patterson said the amount to be distributed back to clubs would be determined in coming weeks when costs for putting on the grand final were paid.
"Until we do the numbers it is a bit early to say," he said.
"We've been a little prudent over the last two or three years expecting we would eventually get a bad weather day.
"We've got a small cash reserve that should be able to get us through what occurred today without affecting the clubs."
The O and M's promotion of its biggest day has fallen by the wayside in recent seasons with the axing of the grand final parade.
The league also missed a potential finals bonanza when Myrtleford exited the finals in week one.
The O and M has lost the administration contract for the Albury-Wodonga Junior Football League to AFL North-East Border.