Ah, what a relief…bush footy’s back and all is well

EVEN though I’ve always loved summer and dreaded the looming freeze of June and July, I must say Good Friday couldn’t come around quickly enough for me this year.

That’s the day when the Bendigo Football Netball League season kicked off and so it was again this year.

Four-time premiers Golden Square hosted suburban neighbours Kangaroo Flat to mark the start of the 2013 season, and just scraped home over the Roos.

Perhaps the most significant feature of the day’s play was the return of one of the Square’s favourite sons, Nick Carter. A few weeks shy of his 35th birthday the former Fitzroy, Brisbane and Melbourne midfielder is parked deep in the forward line these days, but he was more than serviceable in the season opener and nailed three goals.

Carter hadn’t played senior footy since the 2009 BFNL grand final when his beloved Bulldogs beat South Bendigo.

He paced the sidelines as senior coach when the Dogs saluted twice more in 2010 and 2011 before stepping back last year to assist in the establishment of the Central Victorian Australian Football Commission.

But the lure of the liniment and the big stage proved irresistible and back bounced Carter.

Of course, Square had to cover the loss of star full-forward Grant Weeks who not only booted 164 sausage rolls last year, but broke the BFNL goal-kicking record which had endured since 1933. Weeks is playing for Rochester in the Goulburn Valley League this year.

So Carter’s nous up forward will be extra handy for Golden Square this year.

And he will prove an invaluable sounding board for new Dogs’ coach Rick Ladson, the former tough nut Hawthorn in-and-under midfielder.


Kangaroo Flat provided the biggest surprise of the day. Unfancied by all Advertiser tipsters, including your correspondent, the youthful, skinny Roos led at the nine-minute mark: 1.3 to 1.2.

Golden Square grabbed a two-goal lead by the first break and increased that margin to 26 points by the main break.

Then the Green and Whites outscored the home side 4.6 to 2.11 in the last half even though inspirational coach Tyrone “Tigga” Downie was hampered by a leg injury.

He finished the day with 2.5 on a perfect – if somewhat cool — autumn day, with virtually no wind.

The two clubs managed 16.33 between them, an anomaly which had scribes and the huge crowd perplexed.



Spare a moment for the battling Green and Whites from the Flat.

Before Good Friday’s clash, Kangaroo Flat had lost 24 games on the trot to the Square. Their average losing margin: 79 points.

There’s been a fair few 100-point floggings along the way. Last time Kangaroo Flat downed the Bulldogs was way back in Round 8, 2001.

But judging by the Good Friday result, the Roos could well turn those stats on their head before the end of this winter.


The Bendigo league’s opening round continues next weekend when Maryborough hosts Castlemaine on Saturday afternoon and South Bendigo plays Strathfieldsaye under the Queen Elizabeth Oval lights on Saturday evening.

Old rivals Sandhurst and Eaglehawk will clash at the QEO on Sunday afternoon.

After an off-season of torment, Kyneton was unable to attract the numbers and field a senior footy side in 2013. The Tigers will still contest the reserves and under-18 grades and their netballers will be playing.

But for the first time since 1932, Kyneton will not be seen in action in the BFL senior ranks.

The much anticipated Macedon Ranges season opener between Kyneton and Gisborne was thus contested in just the lower footy grades, and the netball.


Final scores, Good Friday: Golden Square 9.20 (74) def. Kangaroo Flat 7.13 (55).

Main goal-kickers -– Square: Nick Carter 3, Hamish Morcom 2. Kangaroo Flat: Josh Keogh 3, Tyrone Downie 2.








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