Australian Rules football is as intrinsically linked to the Upper Murray region as dairy farming.
Founded in 1893 as the Corryong Football Association, the Upper Murray league has a rich and proud history but something has to give.
The competition has hit crisis point.
The Border Mail reported earlier this year that 61-year-old Peter Shaw had played senior football for Corryong, who on Saturday played in the league's closest match: a 117-point victory over Border-Walwa.
The average winning margin across the three matches was 153.6 points with Cudgewa handing out a 157-point thrashing of Federal and Bullioh belting Tumbarumba by 193 points.
You don't have to be Albert Einstein to work out that those numbers aren't healthy.
It is believed Corryong, Federal and Border-Walwa have been involved in discussions over the past few weeks about merging while Bullioh has already flagged its intentions to apply to join the Tallangatta and District league.
Former Cudgewa and Tumbarumba coach Max Duncan told The Border Mail recently he believed the competition's clubs should merge to form "Upper Murray United and enter the Tallangatta league".
Duncan's idea is one that should be seriously considered by Upper Murray powerbrokers.
It's getting harder and harder to attract, and retain, volunteers at community sporting clubs. That difficulty is only amplified when the team is getting belted by 25 goals each week.
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If the six clubs joined together, they'd have six times the drawing power from both a player and volunteer perspective with the potential to be a Tallangatta and District league force - something the entire region could get behind.
Farmers and footballers alike have proven to be resilient beasts in the hills. You don't survive for more than a century otherwise.
No doubt the "Upper Murray United" idea will be met with resistance by some in the region but the most important thing that must come out of this is that football and netball remain in that part of the world.
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