The abandoned match between Lavington and North Albury on Saturday couldn’t save the league from the most lopsided round in its 125-year history.
The match was called off and declared a draw after Lavington forward Matt Pendergast suffered a broken leg at the 19-minute mark of the first quarter.
Lavington led by 23 points, with Pendergast kicking two clever trademark goals.
“By the rule book anything more than half an hour, the game should be abandoned,” umpire Jason Raine said.
“We spoke to the two captains and coaches, probably another 20 minutes in, and we decided to give it another 20 or so, so we have actually given them (the teams) about 45 minutes.
“They (the medical staff) thought they were going to be a little bit longer, so we brought the captains and coaches back in and both parties didn’t agree to continue, so that was after 46 minutes.”
Lavington was willing to play on, while North elected not to.
“We just didn’t want to get any more injuries basically,” North co-coach Clint Gilson said.
“It was going to be another half an hour probably, 20 minutes, and just between (co-coach) Chris (Schmidt), (captain) David Miles and I we had a quick chat and just said, ‘no, we’ll just call it’.
North Albury is considered an outsider to play finals but, after just six rounds, the Hoppers now have more points than last year with three wins and a draw.
The conspiracy theorists were quick to suggest the Hoppers dodged a bullet by taking the draw and two points.
“People can say what they want but, at the end of the day, we’ll never find out the answer to that question (on whether we would have won or lost),” Gilson said.
Promoted as potentially the most lopsided round of the season, the clash of the top five and bottom five ended up being the most one-sided since the league started in 1893.
In round 22, 1993, the five games had a total deficit of 545 points, at an average of 109.
Even with the shortened Lavington-North match, round six had a total margin of 547.
In a worrying sign for the league, the four completed matches had an average winning margin of 131 points.
The league now has the interleague bye, with the O and M hosting Western Region at Yarrawonga’s JC Lowe Oval on Saturday.