Bendigo Relections: Two Blues celebrate dual 1980 BFL premierships

by Richard Jones

EAGLEHAWK celebrates its 1980 senior and reserves premierships at Canterbury Park this weekend.

Thirty years on with the 2010 top-of-the-table clash between the Two Blues and Golden Square unfolding in front of them, the flag-winning stars of yesteryear will spend a day of reminiscing.

Eaglehawk came from 14 points down late in the 1980 play-off to defeat Golden Square by two points in one of the most pulsating BFL grand finals in memory. With 16 goals landed in the frenetic last quarter the lead changed hands five times.

It was a real shootout which kept the huge QEO crowd enthralled.

Champion Square spearhead Ron Best kicked a goal after the three-quarter time siren to hand the Bulldogs the lead for the first time.

In the end it came down to the Two Blues’ desperation and determination to win the flag in the club’s centenary year which wore down the plucky Dogs and got the Hawks home.

CAPTAIN-coach Matt Dillon’s reserves had won the curtain-raiser with a 25-point victory over Kyneton: 12.11 (83) to 9.4 (58).

Dillon’s team led by 15 points at the long break but by just 10 points at three quarter-time. Three goals to one over Peter McRae’s Tigers in the last quarter was the telling factor for the Eaglehawk Twos.

And then it was time for the senior grand final. I wrote in Monday’s paper wrap-up I felt Eaglehawk sewed up the flag with an outstanding first half although inaccuracy almost proved costly: 17 scoring shots to eight.

The loss of centre half-forward the late Ian Beasy, who went off with a hamstring strain midway through the first quarter, didn’t trouble the Hawks.

And with captain-coach Denis Higgins reportedly going into the game under an injury cloud it could have been dangerous for Eaglehawk.

However, Higgins didn’t falter throughout the afternoon. He collected nine marks and 25 kicks, nine of them in the last quarter when he switched himself into the centre.

The Hawks took a 21-point lead into the first change before an excellent Golden Square second quarter with the wind.

The Dogs were inspired by Garry Mountjoy and 60-game Collingwood player Daryl Salmon. They closed within a point of the Hawks deep into time-on.

But three, quick Eaglehawk goals to Rod Fehring, with a long left-footer, Price and Toma restored a handy lead to the Two Blues at the long break.

Paul Rodda was easily the Square’s most effective forward in the first half. Eaglehawk full-back Leo Demeo playing a disciplined game continually punched the ball clear of Ron Best when the Dogs went forward.

Nevertheless the Bulldogs went to three-quarter time two points up. Best landed a major after the three-quarter time siren to hand the straight shooting Bulldogs the lead for the first time: 11.4 (70) to 9.14 (68).

BUT Gary Addlem, the best big man on the field, got the ball to Neil ‘Darby’ Monro in the opening 15 seconds of the last term for a goal and the lead for Eaglehawk.

A long ball from Daryl Salmon (27 kicks, 4 handballs, 15 marks) to Best and the resulting goal wrested the lead back for the Dogs. Two more majors to Peter Moroni and Phil Nicholson extended the Square lead.

Then came the desperate Hawk fightback. Eight minutes in and 14 points down Rod Fehring and full-forward John Price nailed six-pointers to reduce the margin to two points.

Best increased Golden Square’s lead to eight points with a goal from an angle. Monro and Gary Evans (moved to a forward pocket for the last term) both raced into open goals for Hawk majors.

Eaglehawk led by five points, 13 ½ minutes into the last term. But Rodda and Mountjoy (now at centre half-forward) got the ball to Best. His major snaffled a one-point lead for the Bulldogs.

It was no place for supporters with weak hearts. Price was freed for a push in the back and his goal gave Eaglehawk the lead back: a lead which it wasn’t to relinquish again.

Two more Evans’ goals handed the two Blues a 17-point lead, before Daryl Salmon booted two pressure goals for the Dogs.

With two minutes to go, Eaglehawk led by eight points. A long shot from Best right on the final siren left the triumphant Hawks two-point winners.

EAGLEHAWK               4.4         8.9        9.14          17.20 (122)

GOLDEN SQUARE        1.1         6.2       11.4           19.6   (120)

MAIN goalkickers –– Eaglehawk: John Price 5, Gary Evans 3, Greg Toma 3, Neil Monro 3. Golden Square: Ron Best 8, Tony Southcombe 2, Phil Nicholson 2, Daryl Salmon 2.

BEST – Eaglehawk: Gary Addlem, Tommy Devlin, Neil Monro, Rod Fehring, Denis Higgins, Gary Evans, Greg Toma, Paul Coughlan. Golden Square: Daryl Salmon, Garry Mountjoy, Dick Carter, Ron Best, Phil Nicholson, Paul Rodda, Russell Kent.

Free kicks  — Golden Square 43, Eaglehawk 36. Umpire: Bill Deller (VFL).

The Bendigo branch of the Sportsmen’s Association of Australia presented the Kevin Curran Memorial Trophy for best afield to Eaglehawk’s Denis Higgins.

Main goalkickers for Eaglehawk in the reserves grand final were Jefferies with four goals, while Shane Dole snared three and Kevin Price 2. In the best were Paul Stagg, who took control in centrefield when Kyneton’s McRae went to a half-back flank in the second term, Geoff Curnick, Shane Dole, Max Taylor, Peter Metcalf and Malcolm Rosendale.

Ron Elvey described Taylor in the Monday paper write-up as “the best full-back in the Reserves competition.”

And to make it three 1980 flags, the Eaglehawk under-14s also won their grand final 30 years ago.

Those 13-year-olds are now 43 and legally entitled to a drink or three this Saturday!

On the entertainment scene three decades back, the Golden Twin Cinemas was screening Breaker Morant with Bryan Brown and John Waters. At the Drive-In (long since gone to God) Clint Eastwood was starring in Bronco Billy. A band called Fingerprint was playing at the Captain Cook Hotel.


  1. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    I remember Fingerprint – a try hard, hard rock band.
    The Captain Cook used to rock!

  2. Richard Jones says

    NOT a great result for the Two Blues on Saturday, Sheikh Rocket.

    Square creamed Eaglehawk: 19.19 (133) to 9.9 (63). It’s like the mighty Catters — if you want the silver Cup this season (or any season up until 2015, really) you’ll have to beat us to get it !!

    The Dogs have the 2 Rosas, Luke and Simon, to come back into the side. They have a wealth of talent.

    At the QEO, my first Sat. assignment this season for the Bendigo Addy on the hallowed turf, South 16.5 (101) dumped Sandhurst 10.11 (71) after the Dragons had led 3.5 to 1.0 at quarter-time.

  3. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rocket says

    Maybe that other mob in England that wear Blue will be like the Cats and win the Cup until 2015/16?

  4. Richard Jones says

    NOT if my red boys from the Field of Dreams under legendary boss Sir Alex are still alive and kicking!!

    The only reason the ChelSki scumbags saluted (by a single point, mind you) in the EPL 2009-10 was becoz the Red Devils blew a couple of away games March-April. Plus Roons got injured in a Champions League fixture in Munich.

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