Heathcote league strikes gold at Fosterville Mine gala day

THE Heathcote District Football Netball League struck gold at the Fosterville Gold Mine-backed gala day run on Sunday at Marist College Bendigo’s ovals and courts in Maiden Gully.

There were some closely-fought matches contested between the young guns from the Heathcote, Loddon Valley, Maryborough-Castlemaine, and North Central leagues.

Fosterville Gold, which includes some Heathcote DFNL clubs as neighbours, is the largest gold producer in Victoria and extracting thousands of ounces of gold per year.

Fosterville Gold Mines Senior Community Advisor, Trudi Jackson said ” Fosterville Gold Mine is a firm supporter of AFL Central Victoria and the benefits that sport has on the mental health and physical wellbeing of young people in our community. It is wonderful to see the players and families spending time with one another after two years of interruptions and reap the benefits that being part of a sports team brings. Thanks to all the organisers and volunteers who make these events possible.”

AFL Central Victoria also said “It was really special to have this event back in 2022 after a two year hiatus. Fosterville Gold Mine allow this day to happen, and you can see how much enjoyment the players, coaches and parents had on the day. Having an event where the HDFNL, NCFL, NCNA, LVFNL and MCDFNL can come together is unique and something everyone involved looks forward to being apart of.

On the football field, Heathcote DFNL was in hot form in the under-18s matches.

The series in the under-18s footy kicked off with the clash between Loddon Valley and Maryborough-Castlemaine.

Play was 20-minute halves.

The MCDFNL won a closely-fought contest with the Valley, 3.4 (22) to 1.6 (12).

Heathcote’s run began with an 8.7 (55) to 1.0 (6) victory against Loddon Valley.


Game three would decide the under-18s champions.

Coached by Lockington Bamawm United ruckman/forward Tyler Phillips who was last season’s Sam Cheatley medallist as the senior league’s fairest and best, HDFNL dominated from the first contest.

A tally of 14.6 (90) was a remarkable feat in a 40-minute match as the Heathcote team, captained by North Bendigo’s Zandyr Barilari, marked an 81-point victory.

Most Valuable Player awards for the leagues went to North Bendigo’s Cody Riddick, Heathcote DFNL; Inglewood’s Gabe Nevins, Loddon Valley FNL; and Maldon’s Bailey O’Dell, Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL.

The MCDFNL team was coached by Mark Cananzi, as Bridgewater’s Josh Martyn coached Loddon Valley’s rising stars.


Action on the top oval was the under-16s footy match between Maryborough-Castlemaine and North Central.

A high-standard match played across 20-minute quarters ended in a thrilling win for the MCDFNL team.

The Gavin Bayne-coached Maryborough-Castlemaine line-up won 6.11 (47) to 5.12 (42) against the Zane Bigmore-coached North Central.

Most Valuable Player awards went to Maldon’s Callum Buchanan, MCDFNL; and Charlton’s Nick Thompson, NCFL.


Action was fast and furious on the netball courts, either outside or inside.

In the 13-under competition, the Kellie Anset and Bec Cullen-coached Loddon Valley scored a six-goal win against Heathcote DFNL, and drew game three with North Central.

After winning both of their opening games, Heathcote DFNL and North Central met in game five of the 15-under series.


North Central scored a 19-10 victory to cap an unbeaten run.

The NC line-up coached by Melissa Hendy and Zoie Reyne scored a 12-goal win against Maryborough-Castlemaine, and a 14-goal victory in the clash with Loddon Valley.

All four leagues had at least one victory in the 17-under netball.

It was a clean sweep for the Loddon Valley line-up coached by Caz Wood.

First-up was the clash between Loddon Valley and North Central which ended in a 17-8 win for LV’s squad.

The Valley defeated Heathcote by 11 goals, and scored a 10-goal victory against Maryborough-Castlemaine.


13-under netball:

Game one: Heathcote DFNL lt Loddon Valley FNL 22-28.

Game two: Heathcote DFNL d North Central NA 16-15.

Game three: Loddon Valley FNL dr North Central NA 19-19.


Most Valuable Players:

HDFNL: Lily Reid (Elmore).

LVFNL: Emma Hay (Mitiamo).

NCNA: Milla Adams (Donald).


15-under netball:

Game one: Loddon Valley FNL lt Heathcote DFNL 13-22.

Game two: North Central d Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL 23-11.

Game three: North Central NA d Loddon Valley FNL 21-7.

Game four: Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL lt Heathcote DFNL 14-15.

Game five: North Central NA d Heathcote DFNL 19-10.

Game six: Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL d Loddon Valley FNL 23-20.


Most Valuable Players:

HDFNL: Kayla Moon (Elmore).

LVFNL: Kaitlin Broad (Pyramid Hill).

MCDFNL: Reannen Tobin (Natte Bealiba).

NCNA: Scarlett Funcke (Donald).


17-under netball:

Game one: Loddon Valley FNL d North Central NA 17-8.

Game two: Heathcote DFNL d Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL 18-17.

Game three: Loddon Valley FNL d Heathcote DFNL 19-8.

Game four: North Central NA lt Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL 14-16.

Game five: Loddon Valley FNL d Maryborough-Castlemaine DFNL 22-12.

Game six: North Central NA d Heathcote DFNL 16-11.


Most valuable players:

HDFNL: Telani Bibby (Heathcote).

LVFNL: Keira Lawry (Calivil United).

MCDFNL: Ellie Martin (Natte Bealiba).

NCNA: Paige Arnel (Wycheproof-Narraport).


Written by Nathan Dole.