Reunion to give MFL closure

PAST Mallee Football League (MFL) players and officials are planning a reunion to remember the league's good old days, as one of its oldest rivalries is set to play out for what could be the very last time next month.

A recently finalised AFL Victoria review signalled the long-anticipated end of the MFL, recommending it be disbanded and its five remaining teams amalgamate and join neighbouring competitions.

Two of those teams, Ouyen and Walpeup Underbool, were recommended to merge and join the Sunraysia competition despite historically being fierce rivals.

The two will face off for what is looking likely to be the last time — with nothing short of a miracle needed to ensure both reach the finals — at Blackburn Park on August 1.

Not only are they fierce rivals, they are also the last remnants of a time when the MFL gravitated around Ouyen — the other three current MFL clubs trace their lineages to the former Tyrrell Football League, which revolved around Sea Lake and Nandaly.

A reunion of players from the clubs of that era — Ouyen, Kiamal, Tiega, Tempy, Gorya, Patchewollock, Walpeup, Underbool and Murrayville — has been organised on the day to mark the occasion.

It was an era considered by some as one of the MFL's best ever, with several Interleague successes and home-grown VFL players to show for it — including Gordon Casey, Denis O'Callaghan and Max Crow, who have all indicated they'll be attending the reunion.

For more on this story see Friday's edition of The Guardian (July 17, 2015).