Wangaratta has dodged a COVID curveball and gained government approval to host a crowd of up to 5000 at Norm Minns Oval for the local derby against Wangaratta Rovers on Sunday.
The clash between the two traditional rivals attracted 3300 earlier in the season in one of the biggest home and away crowds seen in the Ovens and Murray for several years.
The second versus third blockbuster is expected to draw at least a similar sized crowd.
Their previous meeting lived up to the hype of a genuine heavyweight contest with little separating the two rivals and the Rovers taking the points in a high standard match.
Under the present restrictions a crowd cap of 1000 applies to all O&M matches in Victoria unless granted a government exemption.
Wangaratta co-president Col McClounan said the club applied for the exemption for all home matches.
"Our co-president Ellyn O'Brien did all the legwork regarding the necessary paperwork at the start of the year and we gained an exemption for all home matches," McClounan said.
"We double checked earlier in the week and we are allowed a crowd of up to 5000 which was a relief to hear."
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McClounan was hopeful of attracting a crowd of more than 3000.
"I relocated to Wangaratta in 1994 and I regard the clash earlier in the season as one of the best matches I have ever seen in the O&M," he said.
"The crowd got more than their money's worth and it was a terrific game of football.
"With both clubs genuine flag threats I would expect a crowd of 2500 to 3000.
"Timing is everything because if the game was a couple of weeks ago we wouldn't have been allowed to have any crowd.
"I'm genuinely excited about the match on Sunday and obviously it's the club's biggest match of the season in terms of revenue."
For the first time since COVID struck , all spectators in NSW will be required to wear masks at O&M matches.
The rule does not apply in Victoria.
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