FOOTY’S future stars take to ovals near and far for this weekend’s start to the Bendigo Junior Football League season.
After the 2020 campaign was cut short because of COVID, hundreds of players are back racking up kicks, marks, handpasses, tackles and other one per-centers at training.
There will be 21 clubs competing in the Bendigo JFL this year.
Junior football operations manager for AFL Central Victoria, Nathan Williams said player numbers would be close to 3000 across a wide range of age groups.
“Player numbers are at a similar level to 2019,” Williams said.
“There has been an increase in some age groups, and slight decrease in others.
“Overall we are really happy with how the clubs have approached this season.
“It’s taken a lot of work by clubs to be where they are at.
“The enthusiasm and commitment of players, coaches, and the volunteers is incredible,” Williams said.
Grading rounds for the under-12, 14 and 16 boys will be played across the opening four weeks of the season.
“The under-14, 16 and 18 girls play for premiership points as from this weekend.”
Williams said the country-based clubs were again well represented.
“It’s great to have Woorinen in the under-18 girls, and Heathcote in the under-12s.
“Maryborough is represented in all three boys divisions and will also have an under-10s team.
“Kyneton is in all three boys age groups, and also under-14 girls,” Williams said.
Off-field, Jake McLean and Daniel Reid play crucial roles for AFLCV as football development managers.
“A major goal for the Bendigo JFL is providing opportunities for boys and girls to play football and a pathway to higher levels in the future,” said Williams.
North Bendigo JFC’s focus in 2021 is on under-9s and 10s, and Auskick.
“Some players from North Bendigo in the older age groups have been able to join other clubs for this season, but they could return to the Bulldogs next year, depending on the club’s plans,” Williams said.
It’s not too late to join a BJFL club.
For more details, check out the AFL Central Victoria website, or Bendigo JFL page.
The Bendigo JFL’s old catch-cry of “Tomorrow’s stars are playing today” still rings true as many senior players at leagues across the region made their way from juniors.
Major sponsors of the Bendigo JFL in 2021 are IGA, Cavalier Homes, and Bendigo Bank.
Premium backers are Latrobe University, and Fosterville Gold Mine.
Gold level sponsors are The Bendigo Club, SportsPower, Steamatic, and Tomkinson Group.
Sponsors at silver level are Bart ‘n’ Print, Great Ideas Awards and Gifts, AFS Chartered Accountants, Rotary Club of Bendigo, National Tiles, Birchgrove Property, and Cola Solar.
The support of those businesses helps the Bendigo JFL keep on growing.
Fixture for this weekend’s start to the Bendigo Junior Football League season:
Under-12 grading, Saturday, April 24:
Maiden Gully YCW 3 v Strathfieldsaye 4, 9am at BPH Civil Oval, Marist Junior.
Eaglehawk 2 v St Monica’s 1, 9am at California Gully.
Kangaroo Flat 2 v Strathfieldsaye 3, 9am at Dower Park.
St Therese’s 2 v South Bendigo 1, 9am at Ewing Park.
St Francis of the Field 1 v Quarry Hill 1, 9am at St Francis Oval.
Huntly 2 v South Bendigo 2, 9am at Strauch Reserve.
Golden Square 2 v White Hills 1, 9am at Wade Street.
Kyneton 1 v Maryborough 1, 9am at Bottom Oval, Kyneton.
Maiden Gully YCW 2 v Strathfieldsaye 2, 10.20am at BPH Civil Oval, Marist Junior.
Eaglehawk 1 v Castlemaine 1, 10.20am at California Gully.
Kangaroo Flat 1 v St Kilian’s-St Peter’s 1, 10.20am at Dower Park.
St Therese’s 1 v Strathfieldsaye 1, 10.20am at Ewing Park.
St Francis of the Field 2 v St Therese’s 3, 10.20am at St Francis Oval.
Huntly 1 v Marong 1, 10.20am at Strauch Reserve.
Golden Square 1 v Maiden Gully YCW 1, 10.20am at Wade Street.
Under-14 grading, Sunday, April 25:
Sandhurst 2 v Strathfieldsaye 3, 9am at Ewing Park.
South Bendigo 1 v Golden Square 2, 9.30am at Harry Trott Oval.
Strathfieldsaye 1 v White Hills 1, 9.40am at Strathfieldsaye, Main Oval.
Maiden Gully YCW 2 v Sandhurst 3, 10am at Marist College, senior oval.
Maryborough 1 v Castlemaine 1, 11am at Princes Park.
Eaglehawk 2 v White Hills 2, 11am at S & R Park, Canterbury Park.
Marong Dockers 1 v South Bendigo 2, 11.15am at Malone Park.
Kangaroo Flat 1 v Huntly 1, 11.45am at Dower Park.
Maiden Gully YCW 1 v Kyneton 1, 11.45am at Marist College, senior oval.
Eaglehawk 1 v Strathfieldsaye 2, 12.45am at S & R Park, Canterbury Park.
Golden Square 1 v Sandhurst 1, 1pm at Wade Street.
Under-16 grading, Sunday, April 25:
Kangaroo Flat 1 v Eaglehawk 1, 10am at Dower Park.
Sandhurst 1 v Kyneton 1, 10.45am at Ewing Park.
Strathfieldsaye 1 v Golden Square 1, 11.25am at Strathfieldsaye, main oval.
South Bendigo 1 v Sandhurst 2, 12.35pm at Harry Trott Oval.
Maryborough 1 v White Hills 1, 12.45pm at Princes Park.
Marong 1 v Strathfieldsaye 2, 1pm at Malone Park.
Kangaroo Flat 2 v Eaglehawk 2, 1.30pm at Dower Park.
Maiden Gully YCW 1 v Castlemaine 1, 1.30pm at Marist College, senior oval.
Golden Square 2 v Dockers 1, 2.45pm at Wade Street.
Round one matches:
Under-14 girls, Sunday, April 25:
Golden Square v White Hills, 9am at Wade Street.
South Bendigo v Sandhurst, 11.15am at Harry Trott Oval.
Kyneton v Strathfieldsaye, 1pm at Kyneton Showgrounds.
Under-16 girls, Sunday, April 25:
Golden Square v White Hills, 10.20am at Wade Street.
Sandhurst v Kangaroo Flat, 12.30pm at Ewing Park.
Strathfieldsaye v Huntly, 1.10pm at Strathfieldsaye, main oval.
Under-18 girls, Sunday, April 25
Golden Square v Kangaroo Flat, 11.40am at Wade Street.
Sandhurst v Woorinen, 1.50pm at Ewing Park.
Under-18 girls, Wednesday, April 28:
Strathfieldsaye v Eaglehawk, 6.30pm at Strathfieldsaye, main oval.