HOPETOUN and Beulah will face off on Saturday in what will almost certainly be the final meeting between the sides.
The Blues and Devils have voted in favour of a merger proposal to take effect at the end of the year.
A recently announced review into football in north-west Victoria will stop teams in the area from changing leagues but will not prevent the merger.
With Saturday's match the last fixtured meeting between Beulah and Hopetoun for the year,
it will be their last ever clash unless unforeseen circumstances foil the merger.
Hopetoun president Ross Brown said there was plenty of excitement from both clubs, but it would be a bittersweet day for supporters.
“On Saturday, the Beulah supporters will be barracking for Beulah and the Hopetoun supporters will be barracking for Hopetoun, but, at the end of the day, we’ll stand around together,” he said.
“We’ve always had a really good relationship as clubs.
“After the match and after the season, we’re really looking forward to getting together with them and working on the merger.”
With Beulah undefeated atop the ladder and Hopetoun second last, the clash looks unlikely to be close.
But Brown said the Devils had not given up hope of a big upset.
He said the team was waiting to learn if it would regain stars Coleman Schache and Lucas Cook from the VFL’s North Ballarat Roosters.
The Roosters have a bye this week.
Walpeup-Underbool faces a daunting task at home on Saturday against Sea Lake-Nandaly Tigers.
The Tigers’ only two losses this season have come against Beulah.
In their previous two meetings, the Tigers beat the Roos by 30 and 38 points.
Simon Weekly was a standout performer for Sea Lake-Nandaly in both matches, while Simon Brown turned in a best on ground performance in their last meeting.
Woomelang-Lascelles and Ouyen United will face off at Woomelang Recreation Reserve with third place up for grabs.
Less than five percentage points separate the sides, which have identical 7-5 records.
The teams appear evenly matched, splitting their previous two meetings this year.