THE BFNL desperately needs an enthralling finals series to help redeem what has been one of its most lacklustre seasons.
The home and away season fizzled out with another round of lop-sided results on Saturday where the gulf between the top and bottom five teams was again glaring.
Strathfieldsaye thrashed Maryborough by 197 points and Eaglehawk demolished Kangaroo Flat by 180, while Castlemaine's season of misery didn't let up, beaten by 148 points by South Bendigo (7th) to have now lost 35-straight games.
The home and away season ends with an average margin of 70.4 points across the 90 games played. Since 1978, only the 76.9 average margin in 1995, 74.0 in 1994 and 71.3 in 2008 have been bigger than this year.
The worrying discrepancy is largely built on the one-sided nature of games featuring the top five (Strathfieldsaye, Eaglehawk, Gisborne, Golden Square and Sandhurst) against the bottom five (Maryborough, South Bendigo, Castlemaine, Kangaroo Flat and Kyneton).
Not once this season in 50 match-ups did a bottom-five side beat a top-five side, with the average margin 99 points.
The gap between fifth-placed Sandhurst and sixth-placed Maryborough ended up a ridiculous six games and more than 70 per cent.
This is now four years into AFL Victoria's equalisation measures of the player points and salary cap, but right now the competition seems as lopsided as it has ever been.
Bendigo is the major league in the AFLCV region, but has sorely lacked the storylines this year of the Heathcote District and Loddon Valley leagues to generate the sustained interest a major league warrants.
Even the race for the Ron Best Medal has lacked sizzle given the domination of Strathfieldsaye star Lachlan Sharp, who finished with 129 goals - 48 ahead of Gisborne's Pat McKenna (81).
There's always going to be teams contending and building and take nothing away from the "big five", but the regular nature of the blowout results this year urgently needs to be addressed by the league post-season to ensure some much-needed spark can be generated next year.
In the meantime, here's desperately hoping for a ripper finals series.
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