Flying in to play country footy with Thommo and Simmo

This year I played five games as a fly-in, fly-out player for Kyneton Football Club in the Bendigo Football League.  It definitely got a bit tedious due to spending over 10 hours of my weekend either on a plane or at the airport but generally it was an awesome experience and I got to meet a lot of great people.

I was originally going to play for Kyabram FC in the Goulburn Valley Football League but plans fell through at the last minute so I sent a couple of clubs emails asking whether they would be interested in having me play a couple of games. The Kyneton coach, ex-AFL player Nathan Thompson, got back to me in only a couple of hours and we had a chat over the phone about whether this would go ahead. He said the club agreed with flying me up and the fact that the airport is only about an hour away from Kyneton made it appealing for me.

It was a fairly big journey for me to be just 18 and flying across the country by myself to play for a club in which I knew no one at. However everyone at the club made me feel at home and was really helpful to me. It felt strange calling Nathan Thompson “Thommo” at first because I just saw him as a bloke that I used to watch on TV taking big marks while playing for either Hawthorn or North Melbourne. The same applied to calling Adam Simpson “Simmo” or Daniel Harford “Harf” when they played with us.

Probably the best game out of the five was against BFL powerhouse Golden Square at the Kyneton Showgrounds. We would have been about 50-1 by the bookies if there was a market as they had an impeccable record over the past couple of years while Kyneton were well and truly the cellar dwellers of the competition. They got the early jump on us and kicked a couple of soft goals but for the rest of the match we broke even and managed to hit the front on a few occasions. Thommo was marking everything up forward and kicked eight goals for the match however we fell just short in what would have been a great win. Former North Melbourne captain and current Hawthorn assistant coach Adam Simpson played this game. He seemed like a good bloke and also a real leader out on the field.

Footy in Bendigo is so different to Darwin footy in many ways. The main differences are that the players in Bendigo arrive at the ground much earlier than up here. However I must say it is not particularly enjoyable sitting in the stands waiting for the game while wearing three layers of clothing and still shivering. Another difference is the size of the ovals. The grounds up in Darwin have a lot of space compared to the grounds in the Bendigo league.

While we struggled on field during my five games, it was still an interesting and enjoyable experience. It was great to see that we got a few good wins later on in the season. Kyneton FC is a good club to be around and look like they’re improving.

TWITTER – @JClark182

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.


  1. GOOD to hear you enjoyed the Tiger experience, Jackson.

    Yep, Kyneton in winter is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re from a warmer clime. When I worked at the Bendigo Addy, we’d regularly send a photographer or 2 down to Kyneton in mid-winter because we’d inevitably get shots of snow falling — and then kids having snowball fights.

    And I’d like a $$$$$ for every freezing Saturday I spent in the Kyneton grandstand watching the Tiges take on a Bendigo city club opponent in a BFL match-of–the-day. Unlike now, the Tigers were the BFL powerhouse in the mid-90s, winning flags in 1995 and 1997 and finishing runner-up to Kang. Flat by a kick in 1996.

    Apart from the ex-AFL players you mentioned, former Geelong spearhead Kent Kingsley was slotted in for a game or 2 with Simpson, Harford and Thommo. Don’t think he ever made it.
    Thommo is Kyneton co-coach with BFL legend, Derrick “Dekka” Filo, who was the playing coach when they won those flags in the 90s.

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