NORTH Bendigo Football Netball Club will honour an elite group of triple premiership winners at this Saturday night’s special event in the Hibo Hotel Oval social rooms.
A group of 13 have achieved a significant mark of playing in three senior football premiership teams in the Bulldogs’ history.
Stars from the club’s grand final winning teams of 1974, ’76 and ’77, as well as 2015, ’16 and ’19 will recall the glory days.
Dale Alford, Graham Alley, Brian Brown, Terry Day, Ray Lowther and Doug Roulston were team-mates in the premiership success of the mid 1970s.
A remarkable run of five consecutive grand finals by the Bulldogs from 2015 to 2019 included victory in ’15, ’16 and ’19.
Ryan Alford, Aarryn Craig, Tyson Findlay, Jordan Ford, Brady Herdman, Tom Metherell and Darcy Richards played in all three grand final victories.
The Bulldogs’ grand final run in the sensational seventies was against fierce rival Northern United.
The Ralph Conboy-coached North Bendigo won the ’74 decider by five points, 82-77.
Brilliant wingman Graham Alley was the best and fairest.
Not only did Neville Massina play a key role in kicking 110 goals to win the Golden City FL award, he was also club president.
Massina went on to be a dual premiership-winning coach with Maryborough in the Bendigo FNL.
With John Plim as captain-coach, North Bendigo dominated the ’76 and ’77 seasons.
Gun centreman Terry Day was club champion in both years and in ’76 was the inaugural winner of the Steven Bennett Memorial club best and fairest award.
In ’76, the Bulldogs beat the Swallows, 26.9 (165) to 15.13 (103).
Doug ‘Dollar’ Roulston kicked 11 goals in the grand final and finished the season on 149.
A year later and North Bendigo marked the rare feat of undefeated premiers as they scored a 101-70 victory in the grand final.
There are many family links to North Bendigo’s success.
The ’77 premiership team included Gary Ford, father of Jordan; and ruckman Ray Lowther’s sons Brendan, Shayne and Jayson all played for the club.
Ray Lowther also played a key role in the twilight of his playing days with the reserves, and also coached the under-18s.
The Alfords have been part of North Bendigo for many years.
Dale in the centre, Jack on a half-back flank, Leigh at full-back, and Shane on a wing.
The 2019 premiership team included Ryan Alford on a wing and Zac Alford in attack.
After the ’77 premiership it would be a long time until North Bendigo was “top dog” again.
After ’77, North Bendigo played in a couple more Golden City grand finals and then went into the Bendigo league.
The club later crossed to the Heathcote District Football Netball League.
Jointly-coached by Rob Bennett and Neville Massina, North Bendigo won the 2015 grand final against Leitchville Gunbower by 10 points.
The Bulldogs celebrated back-to-back grand final wins after a 102-82 result against the Bombers to cap the 2016 season.
Runner-up to Leitchville Gunbower in 2017 and ‘2018, North Bendigo took on Colbinabbin the 2019 grand final.
The Matt Dillon-coached Bulldogs beat the Grasshoppers, 70-34 as Jordan Ford and Brady Herdman kicked two goals and Darcy Richards fought back from injury to also boot a major.
Ford was best afield and Aarryn Craig also starred.
This season, Alford, Craig, Ford and Metherell continue to play key roles in the Bulldogs’ quest for more success.
This Saturday night’s function kicks off at 7.30pm in the social rooms at the Atkins Street ground.
It’s free entry. Bar open from 7pm and supper is provided.
Written by Nathan Dole.