We are all feeling a bit like Bernard Tomic this season.
‘‘I don’t know why, but I felt a little bit bored out there, to be completely honest with you,’’ Australia’s favourite whipping-boy said after yet another insipid Wimbledon performance this month.
It is not that this year is not exciting — there are still plenty of thrilling matches every week in every league — but it looks like the premiership medals can already be handed out for more than a few teams.
When the overall result looks set already, fans could be forgiven for not tuning in for the grind of the ride to the top, especially on blustery and cold winter days.
Kyabram continues to roll on in the Goulburn Valley League football and netball competitions, with no sign of anyone challenging it seriously for either flag.
In a top-of-the-table clash with Shepparton on Saturday the Bombers were wasteful, inefficient and downright sloppy, yet still had control of the match firmly in their grasp for the vast majority.
On the netball courts it was also a battle of the best sides in the competition and with both teams missing players it looked like the Bears could be a chance for an upset.
But Kyabram prevailed again, for the 16th match in a row, and will continue to win until it is crowned premier once more.
Across in the Murray Netball League, Charlotte Long’s Moama is looking just as unstoppable.
After casting aside two-time reigning premier Echuca United with disdain for the second time this year, the Magpies sit two games clear on top of the table, conceding little more than 25 goals a game.
Barring an almighty choke, the stark reality is that no side will get close to Moama in the race for the title.
The inevitability of these three leagues threatens to take the fun out of going to local sport every week for many fans, with the crowd at Deakin Reserve on Saturday seeming to only swell after half-time when word of an unlikely upset spread across the Goulburn Valley.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kyabram District Football League cellar dweller Ardmona has struggled since dropping its senior team down to the reserve grade.
Kicking just 18 goals in 10 matches would be enough for any side to be worn down with the attrition of losing, and I am sure the boys would be crying out for a chance to sing the song.
But what is the solution?
Natural progression would state that eventually the best sides will be slain and the worst will rise, but in the meantime a few marquee clashes could be staged.
Now, I am going to have to ask you to put on your suspension of disbelief hats and bear with me here — I know this idea is fanciful and would never properly get off of the ground — but what is a musing if not a pie-in-the-sky daydream?
I will leave team speculation around the netball blockbuster for our resident expert to dissect, but here are my thoughts on the football.
Kyabram v The Rest
The Bombers have already proven their worth against each team in the Goulburn Valley many times during their 34-game winning streak, but how would they go against an amalgamated 22 of the best players in the region?
For the purposes of this exercise I am going to empty the large injury wards of every club and drag all players home from sunbathing on a European beach, but as with John Ryan’s famed top 50, I will leave the VFL stars in the city where they belong.
Kyabram’s superb defensive unit has conceded just 42 points on average across its unbeaten run.
Stars such Lachie Smith, Jason Morgan, Liam Ogden and Josh Vick continually shut down the best each club has to offer every weekend, but if you started Echuca twin towers Ruory Kirkby and Jordan Florance alongside livewire smalls Steven Stroobants (Rochester) and James Wong (Shepparton) — with Benalla superstar Jarrod Bannister and Seymour enigma Saad Saad thrown in — it could be a different story.
The Bombers have a forward line that can tear sides to shreds in minutes when on song, led by Kayne Pettifer and supported exceptionally well by Kyle Mueller, Hayden Gemmill and Brad Mangan.
It is where I think their greatest strength lies, despite how good their defensive unit is.
With so many players able to contribute, the likes of Ted Lindon (Shepparton), Nathan Marrone (Rochester), Adam Tarrant (Euroa) and Brent Colbert (Seymour) would certainly have their hands full on game day.
However, no matter what happens up either end of the ground, it is always in the middle where the greatest battles are fought and won.
And what a titanic struggle this midfield battle would be.
Kyabram’s best ball-winners in Billy Burstin, Jordan Williams, Nick Coulstock, Rhys Clark and Brad Edwards — among others — are a group you can trust time and again to get the job done.
But The Rest’s possible combinations are legitimately salivating.
Led by Seymour trio Jason Cole, Brett Meredith and Ben Clifton and Euroa pairing JD Hayes and Rohan Bail, selectors would agonise over the make-up of this on-ball brigade for weeks.
Simon Buckley (Echuca), Brett Mahoney (Mansfield), Matt Shannon (Shepparton), Sam Martyn, James Martyn and Luke Morgan (Benalla) also seem like walk-up starts, giving this fictional team the best runners in the business.
We cannot forget the big men of the competition, but while Jake Reeves and young Zac Norris provide Kyabram with a strong one-two punch in the ruck, Kane Morris (Echuca) and Brandyn Grenfell (Seymour) would be a formidable duo to contend with.
In the end there must be a winner, and for me the Bombers take victory with their ability to work together as a unit.
As they say, a champion team will always beat a team of champions.
The Battler Cup: Ardmona v Nunawading
Any blockbuster game needs a worthy curtain-raiser, and what better way to open a day of firsts with an opportunity for a struggling club to snare a rare victory.
Ardmona’s last win came exactly two years ago to this day against Rushworth in round 14, 2015.
But, when pitted against another perennial struggler, could the Cats snare that elusive triumph?
Nunawading may have secured a win in its Eastern Football League reserves last weekend, but the senior Lions have not tasted success since June 20, 2015.
I would say the celebrations of the victor would run deeper into the next week than some post-premiership parties and what kind of GV journalist would I be if I didn’t tip the Cats?
While these contests could never realistically be staged during the season, they would certainly spice up the pre-season and surely draw a huge crowd.
And if The Rest failed to slay the Kyabram dragon, you could always bring in players from the Murray Football League as well.
I hear Mulwala’s Ash Froud can snag a goal or two.
B: Matt Shannon, Adam Tarrant, Ted Lindon.
HB: Jason Cole, Brent Colbert, Nathan Marrone.
C: Luke Morgan, Simon Buckley, Brett Meredith.
HF: Jordan Florance, Ruory Kirkby, Steven Stroodbants.
F: Saad Saad, Jarrod Bannister, James Wong.
R: Kane Morris, Rohan Bail, JD Hayes.
Inter: Brandyn Grenfell, Ben Clifton, Brett Mahoney, Sam Martyn.
Emerg: James Martyn, BJ Squire, Ben Fagan.
B: Lachie Smith, Josh Vick, Liam Barrett.
HB: Pat Wearden, Jason Morgan, Rhys Clark.
C: Liam Ogden, Brad Edwards, Sam Sheldon.
HF: Brad Mangan, Billy Burstin, Luke Morris.
F: Kyle Mueller, Kayne Pettifer, Hayden Gemmill.
R: Jake Reeves, Nick Coulstock, Jordan Williams.
Inter: Zac Norris, Axel Childs, Tom Holman, Brad Whitford.
Emerg: Nathan Beck, Josh Pell, Aaron Hayes.