benflSOUTH Bendigo romped home over an outclassed Golden Square in 1994's grand final to make it two mid-Nineties flags in a row.

The Bloods bolted to a 39-point lead at the first change booting eight goals to the Bulldogs' two.

David Nicholas was well on the way to a substantial goal tally that September day 20 years ago. South's key forward had three of his seven goals beside his name by quarter-time.
Square was unable to make up the leeway in the second term as South booted 5.2 to 3.2 to lead by a whopping 51 points at half-time: 13.6 (84) to 5.3 (33).

By the last change the Peter Curran-coached South had doubled the Dogs' score: 120 to 60. So the clubs were merely playing out time in the last quarter.

Nicholas finished with seven majors with Adam Shanahan, Peter Tyack, Stephen Ralph, Kristen Brown and Simon 'Snake' McLean all adding two. Curran booted only a single.

Scott McCumber landed three six-pointers for the Bulldogs. Peter Garner and Chris McFadden supplied a pair each.
South's mercurial half-back Robin Keck won the Nalder Medal as best afield while his teammate, ruckman John Hill, took off the VCFL medal.

Final scores: South Bendigo 20.15 (135) def. Golden Square 13.9 (87).

GOLDEN Square had battled its way into the '94 Big Dance courtesy of a 35-point preliminary final win over Kyneton.
The Dogs looked comfortable for two-and-a-half quarters before the Tigers challenged.

With three goals in time-on, Kyneton narrowed the gap to just two points by three-quarter time before the Square finished full of running to win 15.13 (103) to 9.14 (68).

Bryan Dorrington booted four goals and best afield Peter Garner three. The Tigers had a big conversion problem in all three of their 1994 finals matches.

Even though they'd won the first semi Kyneton had landed just 30 goals from 76 finals' scoring shots --- a very poor conversion rate.

Peter Antoniazzi was their main goalkicker on prelim. final day, booting three.
Speaking of goalkickers, Maryborough's Shane McCluskey finished on top of the BFL table with an even 100 for the '94 season.

The Princes Park Pies had won a thrilling elimination final by three points over Sandhurst, 16.10 (106) to 15.13 (103).
But they bowed out on first semi-final day losing to Kyneton by eight points: 14.10 to 14.18.

Golden Square's dynamic midfielder Derek Percival won the 1994 Michelsen medal with 22 votes from Kyneton's Shane Muir (20 votes), Northern United's Wayne Blake (18), Gordon Sumner of Maryborough (17) and South's Francis Burke (16).

A PERSONAL memory from grand final night two decades ago. I'd accompanied John Hill and two or three other senior Bloods' players to the Square's Wade Street clubroom.

A 'wake' was in progress and to say we received a frosty reception is to put it mildly.

I think we managed to neck one stubby apiece before a squad of Bulldogs' players approached.

There were no cut lunches or anything of that sort. Just a few choice words about the appropriateness of our presence.
Eventually Phil Walsh materialized out of the throng and took me aside.

Said Phil: "It's not that we don't want to socialize or anything like that, Richard," (he might have called me Dick, I forget).
"But we're hurting pretty bad and really don't want to entertain any of these South blokes."

To his undying credit Square non-playing coach Johnny Miller saved the day. Miller calmed everything down. He spoke both to his people and the South players and eventually our little group headed out the door and down the stairs.

Not quite tails between the legs but certainly a little chastened. I, for one, was very happy that Miller was able to de-fuse a potentially threatening situation which, if it had escalated, would not have reflected well on Bendigo footy overall.

And, yes, it was foolhardy to be with opposition players at a rival club's wind-down after a very busy season.

LET'S look now at a Square success story --- the Bulldogs' big win over Eaglehawk in the 1938 grand final.

Despite the threat of looming global war, there was great excitement in the BFL as the two power sides of the season prepared for the October 1st showdown.
After three completed rounds in which each club had played the others three times Maryborough, South Bendigo, Rochester and Castlemaine missed out on the finals.
Golden Square downed the Hurst in the first semi-final: 14.9 to 7.13. Eaglehawk took out the all-important second semi-final to grab a berth straight into the big dance. The Two Blues defeated Kyneton 15.12 to 9.15.

Up bobbed the Square in the final (the word 'preliminary' wasn't used until decades later) -- 16.10 to the Tigers 12.13 -- to exit Kyneton in straight sets.

If only the Kyneton forwards had been as efficient in their kicking as their defenders the team might have been participating in the grand final, BFL Guide editor Cyril Michelsen wrote.

"Did you get an eyeful of those powerful kicks by Elder Anderson, Mick Bourke and Rupe Wolfe? Often they sent the ball into the centre of the ground while the Tiger attacking division played the ball into an opponent or sent it out of bounds."

Michelsen and his team excelled themselves in the grand final program, today known as the Record, of October 1st, 1938.
"Ding Dong game promised' roared the editorial on page 3 of the guide. VFL players, up from Melbourne, performed a kicking skills exhibition at half-time of the decider. Carlton captain Brighton Diggins was a magnet for the onlookers.

AND so to the big match itself.
Eaglehawk raced out to a five-point lead by quarter time: 6.1 to 5.2. The Square added seven goals to one in a dominant second quarter to lead 12.8 to 7.2 by half-time.

Eaglehawk fought back in the third quarter adding 3.5 while restricting the Square to 1.1. Scores: GS 13.9, Eh 10.7.
But with a late burst of five goals as the final quarter wound down --- with captain-coach Reg Ford and Hargreaves prominent --- Square ran Eaglehawk off their feet.

Ruckman J. Foley booted six goals and was voted Square's best player. Hargreaves nailed four majors, May and coach Ford drilled three each.

Mancel Davies booted six of the Two Blues' 14 goals to take his 1938 season tally to exactly 100. It was the third season in which Davies had topped the BFL goal-kicking table.

The headline on page 3 of the Advertiser of Monday October 3rd, 1938 read: "Golden Square has a runaway win in the League grand final – Eaglehawk beaten after first term."
"Golden Square's achievement in winning this year's premiership pennant of the BFL will go down in sporting records as an unprecedented achievement. Only six weeks ago there was doubt whether it would make the final four.
"Saturday was the only occasion on which the full team could be mustered. Yet Golden Square, only in existence for four years, won the pennant," the lead story read.

"Credit is due to Reg Ford who coached the team. He and the players were carried from the Upper Reserve by enthusiastic supporters.'

Final scores: Golden Square 21.13 def. Eaglehawk 14.7. Gate takings: £441, up £25 from 1937's revenue.

KYNETON follower Frank Halloran was presented with the league's A.F. Wood Medal on grand final day. Mayor of Bendigo, Cr. G.D. Garvin hung the medal around Halloran's neck during the half-time break.

The big Tiger ruckman had been runner-up in the 1937 count to George "Bluey" Mumford of Golden Square and went one better 12 moths later.

In the Upper Reserve curtain-raiser for the Beaurepaire Cup Mid-Murray League premiers Nyah downed Kamarooka: 10 goals 14 behinds to 4.10. Around the traps and in the Wycheproof District F.L. grand final Culgoa 11.12 def. Nullawil 9.9. The seconds grand final ended with a victory to Wooroonooke 8.13 to Birchip's 8.4.

Other BFL/BFNL grand final scores down the decades, with years ending in a '4':-
1934: Sandhurst 11.17 (83) def. Castlemaine 8.4 (52).
[this was the sixth successive BFL grand final won by the Maroons, under super coach Bob McCaskill]
1944: BFL in recess, World War 2.
1954: South Bendigo 11.9 (75) def. Sandhurst 9.7 (61)
1964: Golden Square 10.10 (70) def. Rochester 9.7 (61)
1974: South Bendigo 17.13 (115) def. Sandhurst 14.9 (93)
1984: Northern United 18.16 (124) def. Eaglehawk 12.10 (82).
2004: Sandhurst 15.14 (104) def. Gisborne 10.15 (75).

Richard's grand final tip: Strath Storm by 39 points.
Nalder Medal tip: Matt Johnston (Storm) and AFL Victoria Country medal: Mitch Dole (Sandhurst).
2014 finals total: 5 out of 5. Overall season tally: 80.

By Richard Jones