Jones Files: More players to add to my list of the best in the Bendigo league

By Richard Jones

AS my original list of the Top Ten best Bendigo Football League players was so well received, here’s another list of country footy stars to consider.
This second list contains more players from recent times than the original squad.
A number of players in this group were teammates in Bendigo’s stunning 1989 Division One (or Pool A) Victorian Country championship–winning team.
Once again they’re not listed in any particular order, but included for your assessment.

Garry Mountjoy (Golden Square, Northern United): After a fine career as a young full-forward with the Square, Mountjoy later became the heartbeat of United. An in-and-under centreman he was one of the hardest-working, yet often unsung, heroes of the Swallows’ four consecutive flag-winning teams in 1984-85-86-87. Joint Michelsen medallist 1984, Nalder medalist 1985 and played 330 senior games.

Steven Reaper (Kyneton, Gisborne): Big Bundy wasn’t afraid to let others know of his achievements, but what achievements they were. Five-time winner of the BFL goalkicking Ron Best Medal, he topped the 100-goal target four times and racked up 830 majors. A booming kick Reaper could land goals from outside 50 metres without fuss. Premiership player in 2002 and 2003. All-time leading goalkicker at TAC Cup’s Bendigo Pioneers with 132.

Matt Fitzgerald (Gisborne): Dual winner of the Michelsen medal as the BFL’s fairest and best (2003 and 2007). During Gisborne’s golden, premiership years of the early to mid-2000s, Fitzy was the Graveyard Dogs’ inspiration. Another tremendous ‘inside’ midfielder, he had the ability to fire out a handball on the last line of defence and then miraculously bob up at half-forward in the same attacking move to boot a clutch goal.

Daryl Gilmore (Eaglehawk): Strong-marking, hard leading full-forward from the 1980s and early ‘90s. Gilmore topped the BFL goalkicking table three times: 1982 with 113 goals, 1984 with 120 and 1991 with 82. He finished a career marked by tremendous longevity in the 1990s on 214 games and 812 goals. Premiership player in 1982 and grand finalist in 1984-86-87.

Shane Muir (Kyneton): As Mountjoy was at United, Muir was at Kyneton — the heart and soul of the footy club. Dual premiership player, and three-time grand finalist, the Tigers’ durable little rover won the 1985 Michelsen Medal in his first senior BFL season. Named in 1980s Team of the Decade in 1989. Had uncanny ability to read the flow of the game and to get to the fall of the ball.

Peter Tyack (Sandhurst, Kangaroo Flat, South Bendigo): The courageous, hard-running rover played in the Hurst’s premiership team in 1978 when only 18. Joint Michelsen medal winner with Eric Pascoe the next year (1979), played a season under Peter Hinck at the Flat in 1981 and returned to Sandhurst in ’85. His finest days came with South Bendigo as a four-time premiership player during his stint there from 1986-95.

Ron Wicks (Kangaroo Flat): A regular inter-league player during his career, including playing in the 1989 championship side, the durable Roo wingman won the 1993 Michelsen medal. Played in the 1996 premiership team with the Green and Whites. After racking up his 300th game in August 2001, went on to claim the Flat’s games record with an amazing 400-plus games. Multiple club best and fairest award winner.

Francis Burke (South Bendigo): three-time premiership player with the Bloods, Frank was one of the leading BFL wingmen of his time. Nalder medallist as best afield in South’s winning 1993 grand final side. A penetrating kick and extremely elusive, he was selected in VCFL representative teams for the Australian championships three times.

Steve McDougall (Eaglehawk): half-forward or ruck-rover, a key playmaker with his outstanding pinpoint passing by hand and foot. 1982 premiership player, Hawks’ captain 1990-91 and runner-up to Derrick Filo in 1991 Michelsen medal count. Racked up 145 games and named in the Eaglehawk Team of the Century (1880-2005).

Simon Jorgensen (Castlemaine, Kangaroo Flat): premiership midfielder with Castlemaine in 1992, kicked four goals and named Nalder medallist. ‘Jorgo’ was also a master coach and tactician. Playing coach with Kangaroo Flat in the 1996 premiership year and also led Balranald to flags in the Central Murray league. Was a goalkicking midfielder as well as a tremendous leader. Valued selector/confidant to Derrick Filo at Eaglehawk in recent years.

Paul Frew (Golden Square): a hard-working, running centreman or ruck-rover, Frew won the Michelsen medal in 1998. Since his stint at the Square, the greatest accolade for any new midfielder at Country Vet Oval is to be compared with Frew. He could play tall or small and had the happy knack of being able to drift down forward to kick valuable goals.

Matthew Aston (Maryborough): had a stint with the Sydney Swans team before returning to Central Victoria’s Princes Park. A brilliant wingman with exceptional speed, he also played one memorable inter-league game for the Blue and Golds in a back pocket. Won the Michelsen medal in 2002 and is a dual premiership player for Maryborough in 1998-99.


  1. Peter Lenaghan says

    This is more like it, Richard! Some great names here and I have to commend you especially for the inclusion of Ronnie Wicks and Simon Jorgensen from those great Kangaroo Flat teams of the mid 90s.

    I think I would still rate Luke Saunders ahead of Matt Fitzgerald, but only just. And I’m sure there’s a book just waiting to be written about Bundy Reaper…

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