Bendigo FNLRichard Jones | Golden Square made it through to its third consecutive grand final by winning 2010’s second semi-final by 44 points over Eaglehawk. Playing their first game in 21 days the Dogs dominated in the second half adding 11 goals to five with Grant Weeks on fire at full-forward.

The Ron Best medallist nailed seven goals with Luke Hammond and James Bristow adding three apiece. The G-Train Matt Gretgrix was Eaglehawk’s most dominant forward with four majors. South Bendigo stayed in the 2010 flag mix with an emphatic 71-point belting of Maryborough in the Saturday afternoon first semi-final played at Wade Street. The Bloods led by almost 10 goals at half-time and with sharp-shooters Leigh Davies (7 goals), Steve Stroobants (6) and full-forward Dayne Frew (3) on fire the Magpies were shut out of the contest.

The knockout semi-final ended on a sad note for Maryborough. Playing coach Shane Fisher’s three-year stint came to a close with Fisher citing his residency in Ballarat and “the constant travel factor” making it hard to attend training nights as well as game days. Although we weren’t to know it at the time with Golden Square through to their third consecutive grand final (they’d lost to Eaglehawk by one, straight kick in the 2008 play-off) their eventual 2010 premiership was one of the middle ones in their run of five straight flag. Not only did they win in 2010 to add to their 2009 triumph they also went on to salute in 2011-12-13. But that was a long way off in mid-September 2010.

The 2010 semi-finals had been postponed for a week following torrential rain --- similar to the Round 11 deluge and lightning this season --- but it didn’t bother the match-starved Bulldogs. They held a slender one-point lead at quarter-time before a series of momentum swings in the second. Three goals in succession to James Bristow, spearhead Grant Weeks and Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird handed the Square a 19-point lead at the 11-minute mark of the second stanza. Then the Hawks bounced back. They responded with three goals of their own through defender Jeremy Brown, full-forward Matt Gretgrix (4 matchday majors) and Jarrod Findlay to level up the scores at 6.5 apiece at the 19-minute mark.

The Square again got on a roll. Three more majors to the Dogs --- this time to Baird, Luke Rosa and Weeks --- although the Two Blues were still able to reply. Kain Robins landed a booming kick from 55m out while Linton Jacobs’ shot sneaked home with one second left on the clock. Golden Square led by one, straight kick at the long break: 9.5 to 8.5 The first half of the third quarter proved to be the pivotal point of the major semi-final. Square busted the match wide open with the opening five goals with Luke Hammond, Matt ‘Tooley’ O’Toole, Bristow, Mark Lloyd and Weeks on target in front of the big sticks. The lead ballooned out to 35 points and the closest Eaglehawk could get was 22 points late in that third term. Kane Bloxsidge was the Hawks’ best.

Weeks finished the semi-final on seven goals with his fifth for the day --- a mid-third quarter left foot snap which rolled through --- taking the Square spearhead to 150 goals for 2010. He became just the fourth player in BFL history to pass 150 goals in a season. The others are Frank Crapper (Eh, 1933); Greg Kennedy (Eh, 1971) and Ron Best (GS, 1980). Meanwhile South Bendigo’s players also had their kicking boots on. They landed nine goals to nil in a scintillating first quarter. Trailing by a massive 52 points at quarter-time, Maryborough took until the second term to land their first major, through Glenn Chadwick,

One of the Pies’ match highlights was provided by small forward Cole Roscholler. He snared goal-of-the-day honours with an accurate shot from an acute angle, deep in a pocket. South’s Rory Alexander, an ‘in’ for the semi-final side, took a great contested mark in the goal square for a major as South continued to pile on the goals. Stroobants pipped Alexander’s grab as he soared to pull in the mark-of-the-day at the Wade Street end goal square. And the Magpies could take solace from the fact they were outscored by South by just one goal in the concluding three quarters. Final scores: Golden Square 20.11 (131) def. Eaglehawk 13.9 (87) and South Bendigo 23.6 (144) def. Maryborough 11.7 (73). In the dramatic Michelsen Medal count on the Sunday Eaglehawk’s star midfielder Josh Bowe won with the last vote of the night. The 23-year-old polled 25 votes to win from pre-poll favourite Grant Weeks of Golden Square who finished on 22. Third was South Bendigo mid Brady Childs who wasn’t far away with 20 votes. Bowe clinched the medal by polling three votes in the Hawks’ round 18 match against Kangaroo Flat. The eventual winner and Weeks had been tied on 22 votes before the card for the Eaglehawk-Flat match –- the last card to be called --- was read to the hushed audience.

Breakdown of votes for the top trio: Bowe 15 in the threes category, eight for the twos, and 2 in the ones: total 25; Weeks 12 in three-votes, 10 in twos and zero in the one-vote for a total of 22 and Childs 15 in the three vote call, four in the two-votes and a single in the one-votes: 20. Bowe became the fifth Eaglehawk player to take home the prestige award in the 2000s joining Reece Langan (2000), Lucas Matthews (2001), Kain Robins (2006) and Shannon Milward (2008). Fourth place in 2010 was a tie between Kyneton’s Robert Trajkovski and Strath Storm’s Cameron Hall who both polled 19 votes. Sandhurst’s Lee Coghlan was sixth on 18. Maryborough’s goal defence player Alisha Chadwick won the A grade netball Betty Thompson medal with 24 votes, one ahead of Sandhurst’s Meagan Atkins (23).

The win was made remarkable through the fact the Magpies had the final round bye but Chadwick hung on to win the count by a solitary vote. Third behind Chadwick and Atkins was Eaglehawk defender Lauren Ryan on 21. Around the traps and Bridgewater broke a 19-year drought to win the Loddon Valley flag, crushing a miserable Calivil United by 115 points. The grannie was all over by the first break with the Mean Machine 10 goals up thanks to a haul of six majors from star forward Kurt Ashman. He finished with 10 on the day as Bridgey cantered home 27.6 (168) to the Demons’ 7.11 (53). The crowd was good, paying $28,900 at the Backhaus Oval gate --- in Bendigo’s suburban Golden Square area --- and unsurprisingly Ashman took home the VCFL Medal as best afield. YCW won the LVFL A grade netball premiership by a goal over Mitiamo.

With scores level and only seconds remaining YCW goal shooter Cara Bastian sunk the all-important final goal to secure the Eagles their victory: 48-47. In North Central footy’s preliminary final Boort beat Donald in a reasonably close contest: 13.6 to 11.11. In the MCDFL Avoca rolled the Dons in the second semi-final, played at Dunolly. Scores: Avoca 16.11 (107) def. Maldon 12.6 (78). Avoca was headed to its first senior grand final since 2007. And Rovers were successful in the knockout first semi, a low-scoring affair, after just three points separated the clubs at half-time.

Final scores: Rovers 8.15 (63) def. Carisbrook 7.13 (55). Richard’s tips for BFNL second week of finals, 2019: Second semi-final, Saturday night: Strathfieldsaye (vs. E’hawk). Knockout 1st semi-final, Sunday: Gisborne (vs. G. Square).