INTRIGUE is one of sport's most alluring features.
Sadly, the Hampden football league - a proud competition spanning 92 years and littered with tales of close battles - has lost some of its mystique in 2022.
Why? Blowouts are common and the chances of a close game slim.
There has been a senior match with a triple-figure margin in all 10 rounds.
On two occasions - rounds six and 10 - there have been three.
Already 16 matches have been decided by more than 100 points. Just four by single digits.
We've seen a team - Port Fairy - lose two matches by in excess of 200 points and fail to score in one.
The winning teams, on average, are combining for 613 points a round; the five losing sides are mustering 241.
The divide between the top-four - fifth-placed Warrnambool has suffered back-to-back 100-point defeats - and the rest isn't reflective of a major league competition.
Lob-sided contests impact the players but the results reverberate, dictating whether fans decide to brave the rain and wind in the depths of winter and whether there's an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement around the ground.
In our roles as sports reporters we travel to matches around the south west regularly.
There's been instances this year where crowd involvement's been minimal, the result a forgone conclusion.
Sadly, it's felt a bit hollow.
The Terang Mortlake versus Camperdown clash on Saturday emphasised the importance of intrigue.
Both teams entered the game struggling and a rare win was on offer.
There were lead changes and it was heated as two rivals through themselves into the contest.
This sparked crowd involvement - cheers, calls for holding the ball - as supporters from both sides rode the emotional bumps.
People are invested in their local teams and winning or losing is part of the deal - the roller-coaster is what they sign up for.
What they want is a contest.
Let's hope they see more in the remaining eight home-and-away rounds.
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