Northern United Football Club – The September Specialists

NUFC Banner 1985

NUFC Banner 1985

The history of the Northern United Football club was released on 13 June at the 30 & 40 year Premiership reunions for 1975 and 1985. Over 100 players and supporters of this once great club attended with both playing coaches Teddy Aldridge (75) and Tony “Bluey” Southcombe (85) also in attendance with former Presidents Bob Considine and John Mulqueen.  The reunion also resulted in the launch of the book compiled by Trevor Ludeman (former player) and researched by Pat Murley. This 140 page book used the finals campaigns as a way of telling the story of this Club that originated in 1949 from the amalgamation of the small farming communities of Kamarooka, Neilborough and Raywood.

The September Specialists identifies that total games won and lost over 48 years was 1044 won and 1056 lost equating to 2100 games. While the history of the Club can be divided into two main eras being the Bendigo Football Association & Golden City Football League era (1949-1982) and post amalgamation of the Golden City and Bendigo Football leagues into a single competition in 1983.  Examination of these eras reveals: Bendigo Football Association & Golden City League:

  • Seniors: won 377 games & lost 220, resulting in a win/loss ratio of 63%;
  • Reserves: won 344 & lost 251, equating to a win/loss ratio of 58%;
  • Thirds (1967): won 90 games and lost 121 equating to a win/loss ratio of 43%.

The Senior and Reserves playing in consecutive finals campaigns for 17 years in a row (1963 onwards) and Seniors playing 10 Grand finals in the 1970’s decade.

The Bendigo Football League era:

  • Seniors: won 124 and lost 115 games equating to win/loss ratio of 52%;
  • Reserves: won 67 and lost 172 games equating to win/loss ratio of 28%;
  • Thirds: won 42 and lost 177 games equating to a win/loss ratio of 19%.

By comparison the golden era of the club would be represented by the Senior Premierships of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

  • 1970’s:- 7 Senior Premierships:- 130 senior games won and 47 lost equating to 73% win/loss ratio with Reserves (123/56) also having a high win/loss ratio of 68%;
  • 1983-89:- 4 Senior Premierships: – 101 senior games won and 28 lost equating to a 78% win/loss ratio.

Of note however was that a lack of depth with Reserves and Thirds teams during this period (1983-89) with Reserves wining only 38% of games and Thirds 8%.

Overall the achievements of the club throughout these 48 years were significant with 130 finals across all grades, comprising of :

  • 24 First semi;
  • 34 Preliminary;
  • 32 Second semi;
  • 5 Elimination;
  • 2 Qualifying;
  • 33 Grand Finals;
  • 16 Premierships.

The Senior teams participated in 22 Grand Finals in 41 years for 12 Premierships, with “back to back” being achieved in 1972/73 – 1978/79.  There was the extraordinary achievement of four in a row in 1984-1987 and just missed out on the fifth premiership by 14 points in 1988!

At the Reserve grade, over an era from 1954 to 1980, the Club played in 10 Grand Finals for 3 Premierships, while the Thirds (est 1967) had to wait until 1978 for their first and only Premiership.  By 1989 the Junior Club also achieved this goal by winning its first Premiership. Indeed there would be few if any players at United that did not experience finals footy!


About Trevor Ludeman

Trevor Ludeman played country football for Northern United in the Golden City Football League in Bendigo as an U18, from 1977-78 where United were successful in winning their first ever Thirds Premiership (78). Study in Melbourne resulted in him playing two years with St.Bedes (VAFA) and later St.Kevins Ormond (Eastern Suburban Churches F.L), where he won a Senior B&F in 1982 playing for $35 a game! Wow it paid for the rent! Returning to Bendigo in 1983 he recommenced with United, which coincided with the amalgamation of the Bendigo and Golden City Football Leagues into a new 12 team competition. United recruited heavily this year and sought out Country Football legends Tony Southcombe and Ron Best to lead the team. Although playing finals in 1983 United failed, however were successful in 1984 where they beat Eaglehawk for the BFL Premiership. Trevor played CHB in the Senior Grand Final. Relocation to Alexandra Shire (Town Planning) saw him play with Alexandra (Yarra Mountain Districts F.L. 1985) while in 1986 Alexandra was cleared to play in the Tungamah League. Trevor played in the losing Grand final with Alexandra V Mansfield in 1987. A shift to Gippsland saw him play with Meeniyan Dumbalk United (Alberton F.L) which resulted in playing in senior premierships for 1988 & 1990. He retired from football at the end of 1993 season (age 32), when he relocated to Melbourne. Recommencing football training to "keep fit" with North Old Boys F.C. in 1997 (St. Josephs College North Melbourne) resulted in Trevor playing in 2004 in Club 18 (Reserve grade) in the VAFA. He continued until the end of 2007 reaching a further 50 games for NOBS, to bring up the total to approximately 290 games. North Old Boys played at Gillon Oval Brunswick, being the former Brunswick VFA ground. Mid way through 2007 he was asked by current President Terry Scanlon to take over the reins, being the first “non-old boy” President for the Club (Est 1963). This was contingent on the condition that he review the operations of the club, as the mantra of the club being in “A grade for 25 years in a row” was now a distant memory. This review identified the need for a player pathway to be established via the formation of a junior club, since the pipeline from the school had ended some 20 years prior. In 2010 he was successful in forming a new junior club, being Brunswick Junior F.C. being both the inaugural President and Coach, simultaneously with still being the President of North Old Boys F.C. Brunswick’s first team was U10's with just 16 players at the start of the season and finished with 22 at the end of 2010. Trevor has continued to coach this team (& son Jack) through to Premierships in 2012 (U12) and again in 2013 (U13). Trevor is still the Coach of this team now at U15 level. The Brunswick Junior Football Club has now grown to 9 teams (U9 to U15 + U15 girls) comprising of 180 players, since 2010.

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