A MERGER between Mallee Football League clubs Beulah and Hopetoun will go ahead after Beulah members voted in favour of the motion on Wednesday night.
Hopetoun members had already voted in favour of the merger in late May.
AFL Victoria regulations require 75 per cent of members from each club to vote in favour of a merger.
Blues president Clayton Shannon said he did not know the exact percentage of members from his club who supported the motion, but the mood was positive after the vote.
“All we know is that we needed 75 per cent and we got it, and everyone seems happy to be moving forward,” he said.
“Now we can move onto the next step of negotiating the amalgamation with Hopetoun.
“It will probably be a drawn-out process, but we’ll try to meet as soon as possible and start getting things organised.”
Among the issues to be discussed is a name for the new club.
Mr Shannon said the merger was necessary despite the Blues’ dominant on-field performance this season.
“We’re running out of people – players and committee and volunteers – and it has been a slow drain on the club for a while,” he said.
“It has come to a point where it’s going to be unsustainable to keep trying to do it on our own.”
Hopetoun president Ross Brown welcomed the vote from Beulah members.
“It has finally given us a chance to sit down and start talking about it,” he said.
“There has been a lot of speculation, but now we can actually sit down and start working out what needs to be done.”
Mr Brown said last month his club’s reasons for pursuing a merger were similar to Beulah’s – lack of volunteers and a struggle to recruit new players.
The merger means the Mallee league will be reduced to six teams next season.