Farrer League clubs have been warned to get behind representative football or the league will walk away from it.
President David Oehm, who heads the league's competition management committee (CMC) didn't mince his words, after the build-up to Saturday's game against Hume League was overshadowed by a battle to get players to commit.
Oehm was glowing in his praise for the individual footballers who supported this year's campaign and helped restore some pride in the Farrer League's representative reputation at Osborne on Saturday.
But he remained bitterly disappointed by a lack of broader support for the interleague game even after an impressive performance from Farrer in going down to the Hume League by a point.
"It's obviously a shot in the arm for it but I'm still a bit... I'm still sitting a bit on the fence," Oehm said.
"From a personal point of view we, the CMC, we don't want to bust our guts to keep rep footy going if we're only providing for a minority and not a majority.
"I've had my say... clubs have either got to buy in or buy out."
Oehm echoed coach Brad Aiken's words that those who played on Saturday set an example of how to approach representative football.
"I feel very proud of our boys that played," Oehm said.
"As Brad said, and I'll say it, we obviously got the right 22 blokes to play because they all wanted to play and they all committed to play for the league - they all wanted to pull the guernsey on and represent the Farrer League.
"I was very, very proud of the boys. Disappointed, naturally, that we lost but it was a great game of football and I was proud of their effort and the way they performed on the day."
Oehm said he was always pleased with the team Aiken and his selectors and assistants picked, saying the emphasis on mobility and speed was spot on and a core of senior, experienced players were supported by the bold selection of raw young stars.
Aiken believes the 2019 group could provide the impetus for future campaigns.
"For the Farrer League, it's a positive and a step in the right direction," Aiken said. "If they can keep that same 22 next year, I think they'll do some tricky things. But we'll just wait and see."
After consultation with clubs and coaches, there were 43 players named in preliminary squads but more than 20 of those ended up injured, sore or unavailable. In addition, Aiken plucked the two ruckmen, Jack Driscoll and Jack Cullen, out of the under 17s rep side, in a bold move that proved a great call.
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