After decades of toil, Murtoa finally reached the pinnacle of Wimmera football in 1980.
The club won its first Wimmera Football League premiership and the only senior football flag in the club's standalone history, prior to a merger with Minyip in 1995.
The premiership came after a decade of rejuvenation in the 1970s.
The Magpies played in their first Wimmera league grand final in 1973 - 36 years after the league's formation in 1937.
Murtoa had more often spent seasons in the bottom-half of the ladder throughout its history, battling to compete against the bigger regional cities of Horsham, Ararat and Nhill.
Club legend and 1980 playing-coach Hugh Delahunty said the club's history made the drought-breaking premiership even more special.
"When I was a 17-year-old playing at Murtoa, if we got within 10 goals of Horsham, we were reasonably satisfied," Hugh said.
"We were cellar dwellers during the 60s, got up in the 70s and had a couple of chances, then finally got one in 1980.
"It was a very special year and a very important year for the community."
Hugh had returned to Murtoa permanently in 1977, bringing with him VFL experience he had earned at Essendon earlier that decade.
Murtoa had suffered three grand final defeats in the 1970s, losing in 1973, 1977 and 1979.
The Murtoa Magpies, it seemed, were much like their VFL counterpart the Collingwood Magpies of that era, and could not break a grand final hoodoo.
The repeated disappointment even led to star centreman David Delahunty to consider a superstitious change, to avoid a similar fate as the infamous 'Colliwobbles'.
"When we got to 1980, my idea was to get rid of the black and white jumpers," David said.
"I thought we were a bit like Collingwood in those days - we just couldn't win a grand final.
"I was actually blaming the jumper. That's how dire things sort of got."
Possibly the most heartbreaking of the grand final losses came against Horsham in 1979, when the favoured Magpies lost by five goals after a controversial build-up.
Star Horsham ruckman David Burke somehow managed to get his tribunal hearing delayed, and played in the grand final.
The tribunal hearing was then held the week after, and Burke received a two-week suspension for an incident against Ararat in the preliminary final.
But while the 1979 grand final defeat was contentious, David Delahunty believes it added extra fuel to the fire.
"On paper, we probably had a better side in 79," he said.
"I think we were beaten only once or twice in 79, but in 1980,I think we had to win our last five to get the double chance.
"We got into form coming into finals, put it all together and didn't get ahead of ourselves either.
"It was a totally different attitude."
A stunning one-point victory against Horsham in the final round of the season secured Murtoa the double-chance, and they flew through to the grand final.
A more humble approach, and an unshakable desire to break the club's premiership drought then coalesced with a 55-point victory against Stawell in the grand final at Dimboola.
David said it was an achievement for club and community that was hard to believe.
"It's a funny thing. I remember waking up on Monday, sitting down to read the Wimmera Mail-Times and reading that we'd actually won the premiership. That's when it really sunk in," he said.
"The Monday was a special day when I realised what we had actually achieved, that it had actually happened.
"Because as a kid growing up, I would just watch us getting belted in the 60s.
"It was quite amazing. We were very lucky to be a part of it."
Chris 'Larry' Rabl, who grew up in Murtoa and spent his whole life playing for the club, remembered that it was almost bigger for the community than it was for the players.
"For the players, it was a bit of a relief," he said.
"But for a lot of elderly people in town, they said they could die happy now, now that they had seen Murtoa win a flag.
"It was just huge."
Rabl said while Greg Smith, Ron Ward, Simon Caldwell and Jeff Allan were pivotal to the 1980 side, it was the Delahuntys, a name synonymous with Murtoa, that pushed them over the edge.
"We wouldn't have been close if not for them, that's for sure," Rabl said.
"They made up the side, (former Collingwood VFL footballer) Michael, David and Hugh. It was centre half-forward, centre, and centre half-back.
"David too was a hell of a footballer. He won the best and fairest that year. He wasn't as big in stature as Hugh and Michael, but he was a hell of a competitor."
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Hugh said it was a special achievement for the extended family.
"Obviously everyone wants to win a flag, but to win it in your hometown where your father had been president, and we had a lot of family support, it was a big thrill," he said.
"To see the joy and excitement from all those people in the community, and to be in the town hall that night after the grand final was something very special."
It is a premiership the remaining players love to celebrate.
However, a face-to-face 40th anniversary this year was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, this Sunday, the players will reunite over video call, to enjoy a beverage and reminisce on a special year.
"This Sunday the 20th of September is the actual day to mark 40 years," Hugh said.
"We had a quick get together on zoom earlier this year and there's still demand to have a face-to-face get together, so hopefully we can be a part of it next year as well."
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