May 23, 2013By Frankie
Nine years between drinks for blue and golds
May 25, 2009By Richard Jones
Bendigo vs Ballarat...
NOT since June 2000 had Bendigo downed Ballarat in inter-league football.
That was until last Saturday when the Jeff Brennan-coached Blue and Golds scored a memorable victory over the Navy Blues at Bacchus Marsh.
Interestingly, the 2000 win was also registered away from home: at Ballarat’s City Oval, to be precise.
On the last two occasions the two Goldfields rivals had clashed Ballarat had been successful. In a 2004 Friday night clash in a shortened form of the game, Ballarat won clearly.
That game under lights at North Ballarat’s Austar Arena was part of the round-robin format where Ballarat, Bendigo, Hampden and West Gippsland-Latrobe were the competing leagues.
Last Saturday’s BFL assistant coach, Derrick Filo, kicked two of Bendigo’s paltry three goals for the two-halves fixture.
Then in a one-off inter-league QEO night game in 2007 Ballarat triumphed again. The last quarter was still being played as 10.40 pm rolled around, and players from the two leagues sat munching on their after-match pizzas at midnight.
The Navy Blues got home by 23 points on that bleak June mid-week night two seasons ago.
The only Bendigo player to have been on the park in the two inter-league wins against Ballarat - 2000 and 2009 – is present day Central Victorian Football CEO, Steven Oliver.
He kicked three goals last weekend in Bendigo’s 21-point win.
The big Castlemaine full-forward was named in the forward pocket for the 2000 clash with 2009 reserves goalkicking leader David McCormick of South Bendigo selected as the spearhead.
Nine years ago the Camp Reserve Magpies had five players in the Blue and Gold on-field 18. Clive Raak was the centre half-back, Luke Walters was on the half-forward line with Lachie Brown in a forward pocket and Luke Adams in the centre.
Golden Square and Gisborne had just one player apiece in the victorious 2000 combination.
Later to coach the Gardiner Reserve Dogs to two flags, Marcus Barham was named on the full-back line. The Wade Street Bulldogs had No. 1 ruckman Tony Plim in the side which travelled to the City Oval.
Ballarat playing coach Greg Cox lined up at centre half-back on Blue and Gold skipper Ben Sexton.
Cox had played in the VFL with the North Ballarat Roosters and Port Melbourne. One year later Cox played with Golden Square as a member of the Dogs’ 2001 premiership side and followed that up with coaching roles at Bendigo’s VFL sides.
Also in Ballarat’s inter-league side in 2000 was former North Melbourne and Footscray player Keenan Reynolds. He later played a handful of BFL games with Maryborough and Kyneton.
Another in the Navy Blue line-up was Brett Cook. The St Kilda 1997 grand final follower was Ballarat’s ruckman, listed to take on big Tony Plim.
Cook later coached Kyneton, ironically taking over from Bendigo’s successful 2000 inter-league coach Neville Massina.
A player with state representative experience for Ballarat was Julian Shanks who had pulled on the Queensland state guernsey.
But it was Oliver and the Blue and Golds who showed the way. Ahead by four points at the last change Bendigo won by a kick – 11.10 (76) to Ballarat’s 10.10 (70).
Ollie booted five of the Blue and Gold’s 11 majors, with Kangaroo Flat’s Simon Elsum snagging two.
Midfielders Ash Wilson (KF) and Reece Langan (Eh) were named in Bendigo’s list of best players along with ruckman Plim, Oliver and centre half-forward Ben Sexton who pulled in a number of big marks in the tense second half.
Eventually four Blue and Golds were selected in the VCFL squad to contest the Australian Country Football Championships: Maryborough wingman Matthew Aston, Plim, Wilson and Elsum.
On the way to that VCFL grand final in 2000 Bendigo had accounted for Central Murray in the first round and Sunraysia in the semi-final.
In May that year Bendigo beat Central Murray to set up a semi-final against Sunraysia coached by last weekend’s victorious coach, Jeff Brennan.
Sunraysia was blown away to the tune of 11 goals as Bendigo set up the Division 2 grand final showdown with arch-rivals, Ballarat.
The Bendigo grand final line-up in June 2000 was:
B: Barham (Gis), Rodda (KF), Wilson (KF).
Hb: M. Sexton (Sh), Raak (Cm), Elsum (KF).
C: Aston (Mrb), Adams (Cm), S. Blake (SB).
Hf: B. Sexton (Sh), Walters (Cm), S. Milward (KF).
F: Oliver (Cm), McCormick (SB), Brown (Cm).
Foll: Plim (GS), R. Langan (Eh).
Rover: Slater (Eh).
Inter from: Wootton (Mrb), Matthews (Eh), R. Atkin (Cm), Lancaster (KF), Landry (KF), Andrews (Mrb), Filo (KF), Bond (Mrb).
Coach: Neville Massina.
SO WHAT happened to the Blue and Golds after the stunning win, away from home, over Ballarat and promotion to the top grade ?
In the Division 1 first round match in 2001 Goulburn Valley won comfortably at the QEO: 24.15 (159) to 15.9 (99).
Back in Division 2 for 2002 the Blue and Golds won all three games once again. Neville Massina coached Geelong coastal league Bellarine in May that year as Bendigo won at Skilled Stadium by a huge margin: 27.25 (187) to 8.5 (53).
In the semi-final the Blue and Golds belted Wimmera 15.19 (109) to 9.5 (59). The Division 2 play-off saw Bendigo win a tight grand final over Central Murray: 11.9 (75) to 9.8 (62).
Our last game in Division 1 was played on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in 2003 at the MCG. The VCFL semi-final was a curtain-raiser to an AFL fixture.
The Geelong league belted us 18.17 (115) to 8.3 (51) with Steven Reaper booting six of Bendigo’s measly eight goals.
Richard’s selections for Round 7: Kangaroo Flat, Maryborough, South Bendigo, Gisborne, Golden Square. Season total: 26.
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