MYRTLEFORD will end 63 years of tradition and become the Alpine Saints in the Ovens and Murray Football-Netball League.
The club, which has won just one premiership since joining the O and M, will retain the Saints’ colours of red, white and black and the MFNC insignia on the jumper.
The “Myrtleford” name disappears in a move aimed at ensuring the club stays in one of country Victoria’s strongest leagues.
The changes will take effect next season.
The Saints’ committee has endorsed the switch ahead of the club’s annual meeting next week and it is similar to a move adopted by AFL club Footscray when it became the Western Bulldogs.
Myrtleford was previously known as the Tigers and became the Saints when the club switched from the Ovens and King league in 1950 along with Wangaratta Rovers.
The two clubs played off in the 1948 and 1949 grand finals for one win apiece before entering the O and M.
They have contrasting records in the O and M with Rovers winning 15 flags and the Saints only one in 1970 when they beat the Rovers.
Outgoing Saints committee man Adrian Villella said the decision to drop the Myrtleford name was a make or break move for the club.
“To have a long-term presence in the Ovens and Murray we need to think beyond postcode 3737,” he said.
“If we don’t do this we will need to find a competition relative to the population we currently have.
“The club wants to stay in the Ovens and Murray.
“But in order to do that we have to appeal to people from Everton to Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain and to the upper reaches of the Kiewa Valley.
“It’s not something we want to do but this is reality.
“The Saints will keep marching on, but we’ve just got a different name.”
The club made tentative steps to a name change when its under-18s became the Alpine Eagles in the late 2000s.
The under-18s will stop wearing navy blue and gold colours and will be also be known as the Saints from next year.
The Eagles was an alliance between Myrtleford and Bright but the relationship had strained in recent seasons.
Myrtleford’s history in the O and M has been one of long periods of struggle interspersed with brief periods in premiership contention which has ended in grand final heart-break with the exception of 1970.
The most recent was three grand final losses in the 2000s including a crushing one-point loss to Lavington in 2005.
Gary Ablett snr, played for Myrtleford in 1983 before returning to the VFL.
But, the club lost narrowly to Albury in the preliminary final.
In contrast, Myrtleford has produced nine Morris Medallists — Neil Currie, Jim Deane (twice), Bruce Waite, Mike Andrews, Rod Page, Peter Howard (twice), Terry Burgess jnr, Mark Lambertini and present co-coach Brad Murray.
The club has also had Len Ablett, Martin Cross, Frank Hodgkin and Kevin Smith inducted into the O and M Hall of Fame.
It had Jack Crisp (Brisbane), Frazer Dale (Carlton) and Matt Taberner (Fremantle) on the AFL list last year.