Grand finals across the region attracted record attendance, in a positive sign for the health of football and netball in the region.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee's Stephen McQueen said both the Wimmera league and Horsham District league grand finals were well attended.
Mr McQueen said crowd numbers were bolstered by hosting the Wimmera league grand final at Horsham's City Oval.
"The gate takings were among the top three on record for the Wimmera league," Mr McQueen said.
"It was a remarkable turnout, especially considering the weather."
McQueen could not give official numbers, but said attendance was around 3,000 for both leagues.
The Mininera and District league also welcomed record numbers for the grand final, as Great Western broke a 36-year premiership drought.
AFL Western District senior operations manager Brad Pole said gate takings were about 50 per cent up on previous years.
"I would put the increase down to two the following of the teams in the final, and also the weather was perfect," he said.
Mininera league president John Box praised attendance across the entire finals series.
"We had great attendance during finals which were really pleasing to see," he said.
"Our grand final at Lake Bolac would definitely be a record crowd.
"Our second semi-final at Ararat's Alexandra Oval would also be close to record attendance as well."
AFL Wimmera-Mallee's Bruce Petering said the 'traditional' style of country football helped attract fans.
"The difference between our local game and the AFL game is certainly a bit of an advantage to us," Mr Petering said.
"If you didn't know anything about Australian rules football, and you went to an AFL game then a Wimmera league game, you would think it was almost two completely different games.
"(People) love going to country football and watching a good, hard contest."
Mr Petering said the importance of football netball clubs in the community had also continued to grow.
"It's two-fold - we've got community based football netball clubs that people want to support ... and we've got a game that people love," Mr Petering said.
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