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Former Blue stars on debut, ex-Hawk, Bomber bags five, country club ends 68-game losing streak


After a standalone match in the Colac and District FNL last weekend, country footy was back in a big way as the Easter long weekend marked the official start of the 2024 country footy season with 15 leagues kicking off.

In staying with the themes of Easter, we saw a resurrection and miracle performed over the weekend of matches.

The resurrection took place in the Ovens and Murray FNL where Corowa Rutherglen FNC came back from spending the 2023 season in recess as a result of not having their ground and facilities due to the 2022 floods. This and an exodus of players leaving for other playing opportunities left the club with no other choice.

The hard work over the last 12 months by the club's committee and volunteers was vindicated when the club fielded all football and netball sides for their match against Albury FNC. While they ended the day with a senior football loss and an A grade netball win, the community had plenty of reasons to celebrate. In the coming weeks we will also welcome back from recess in 2023 the Yea FNC in the Outer East FNL and Rushworth FNC in the Kyabram and District FNL.

When it comes to Easter miracles, none was bigger than the one performed at Ron Evans Oval in Portarlington, where the home team brought the longest current losing streak in Victorian country footy, and the second overall in the state, to an end.

After 68 straight loses going all the way back to their last win in Round 16, 2018, the song was sung loudly and proudly after 2071 days, when they finished 31 point winners against Newcomb FNC - 15.13 103 to 10.12 72.

The dubious honour of the longest losing streak in Victorian country footy now goes to Maryborough FNC in the Bendigo FNL who went down in their season opener to Castlemaine FNC by 69 points. This loss now takes them to 45 consecutive defeats, stretching back to Round 2, 2021 where ironically they defeated Castlemaine FNC.

A couple of clubs who moved leagues over the off-season have had mixed fortunes in their new homes. After 77 years in the Bendigo FNL, Kyneton FNC moved to the Riddell and District FNL and started positively with a first up 53-point win over 2023 runners-up Woodend-Hesket FNC.

In the North East of the state, Tocumwal FNC who had returned to their former home the Murray FNL for season 2023, made the move back to their previous league the Picola and District FNL after a newly-mooted second division competition fell over at the last hurdle late last year. It failed to be a successful homecoming when they went down to their nearest rival, Berrigan FNC - 18.11 119 to 7.8 50.

Staying up north, the inclusion of former Collingwood premiership player and former Brisbane Lions captain Dayne Beams was not enough to help Mulwala FNC as the Lions were completely outplayed in the Murray FNL Grand Final rematch, with Congupna FNC running out comfortable 59-point winners, 14.14 104 to 7.4 46.

Remaining with former AFL players plying their trade in the bush this season, former Bomber and Hawk Michael Hartley kicked 5 for Castlemaine FNC in their win, while former Blue Lochie O’Brien had the ball on a string in his debut for Wangaratta Rovers FNC in their opening round win against fierce rivals, the Ben Reid-coached Wangaratta Magpies FNC.

Next weekend will see the Ellinbank & District, Geelong & District, Heathcote & District, Maryborough Castlemaine District, Outer East, Sunraysia and Warrnambool & District football netball leagues take the field for the first time in 2024.

Also don’t forget to find out all the news and info about the upcoming country footy seasons by reading our 2024 Season Preview (Pre-Season guide) which can be found HERE.

The guide includes a 10-year form guide for every Vicorian country club, all the 2024 fixtures, football and netball coaches as well as lots of stats and other information. It includes a bit of fun we’ve had as we celebrate our 25th season of covering country footy!

Check out the CFS 2024 Season Preview.

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