Swallows’ players, fans relive glory days


A REUNION of Northern United Football Club’s players and fans will be held at Saturday’s running of the Ron Best Memorial Shield match at Golden Square.

Many of the Swallows legends from the 60s through to the 80s will flock together at Fur Life Oval in Golden Square’s Wade Street.

The function kicks off at noon in the Golden Square Cricket Club rooms.

As Northern United FNC reflects on the glory days it will be Golden Square and Sandhurst vying for the Ron Best Memorial Shield.

A legendary goalkicker, Best’s tally of 270 games in the Bendigo Football League involved stints at Golden Square, Sandhurst and Northern United.

Best racked up 1624 goals and starred in premiership wins by Sandhurst in ’73 and ’77, Golden Square in ’79, and Northern United in 1984.

Final game of his career was the ’84 grand final in which he kicked 11 goals in Northern United’s win against Eaglehawk.

Among the highlights of Saturday’s reunion for Northern United FC will be some of Best’s opponents reminiscing about their duels with the legendary full-forward.

The panel to talk about Best will be Peter Fyffe, Leo Demeo and Shane Rodda.

All three were opponents or team-mates during Best’s remarkable career.

Fyffe played at Castlemaine and Northern United; Demeo at Eaglehawk and Northern United; and Rodda at Golden Square.

Northern United Football Club was a power in the Golden City league from the 1960s until early 80s.

The club contested 33 grand finals and won 16 premierships across stints in the Golden City FL and Bendigo FL.

The Golden City Football League later amalagated with the Bendigo Football League.

Champions of Northern United Football Club in its days playing at Kamarooka and Raywood included  Tony Barnes, Eddie Blampied, Dick Conder, Maurie Sharkey, and Doug, Kevin and Terry Cail.

No matter the games, premierships and goal tallies, Northern United’s players and fans share a special bond.

A premiership winning coach at Golden Square and Boort, gun ruckman Tony ‘Bluey’ Southcombe was appointed Northern United’s senior coach.

The Swallows soared to four consecutive grand final victories from 1984 to ’87.

Southcombe was playing coach in the first three triumphs and then stepped aside for Brendan Mason to be playing coach as the team in maroon and gold won the ’87 grand final.

A dual Michelsen medallist as league best and fairest in his days at Golden Square, Southcombe stayed on to play with the Swallows in the 1987 season.

He later went on to coach Elmore to premiership glory in the Heathcote DFNL.

There have been many brilliant team-mates across Southcombe’s incredible career with the Bulldogs and Swallows.

Those named in Southcome’s “Dream Team” included Swallows greats Tony Barnes, Leo Demeo, Gary Evans, Gavin Exell, Peter Fyffe, Gerard Geary, Leon Holt, David Ludeman, Gary Mountjoy, Phil Nicholson and Darren Trickey.

Pillars of the team were Golden Square team-mate Shane Rodda at full-back, and of course Ron Best as full-forward.