The Bendigo Football Club is about to enter another new phase – an opportunity of standing alone without the Essendon presence off-field and the challenge of standing alone without the Essendon talent on-field.
The one thing you can guarantee from the board led by chairman Tim Dickson, general manager Graham Pratt and myself is an honest and transparent approach, with a realistic attitude of what we can and can’t achieve.
We must have patience. The Bendigo football community needs a VFL team.
Players like Steven Stroobants and many others will play VFL footy and play in Melbourne if our club is not here to represent Bendigo.
Players like Simon Rosa and Nick Carter had stellar careers with the Bendigo Football Club and returned to Bendigo footy to contribute enormously.
If young men head to Melbourne for opportunities in footy, they can and will be lost to their home clubs, families and friends. We provide that opportunity for them here.
In 2013, we will have several ex-Pioneers players on our list, however, in my opinion, this percentage must and will continue to grow.
We must build and provide a culture at the Bendigo Football Club that young men from the Pioneers and all across northern Victoria want to be a part of. This will take time, but through a growing relationship with Dave Newett, coach of the Pioneers, I believe we are heading in the right direction.
As a playing group, we will hold our pre-season camp in Bendigo and will undergo a number of activities to contribute to those in Bendigo needing our support. Our players will raise funds and awareness for charitable groups throughout the three day camp.
For the players, we are in discussion to take our leadership group to India in a one-off life experience, with the players to assist in the slums of Kolkata. This is a very unique life experience and reward for players that commit to our program and set high standards on and off field.
For our members, we are offering a once-in-a-lifetime prize thanks to the great support of MyJet. We are taking two people by jet to Melbourne, offering a dining package and rare visit to the change rooms and returning by jet to Bendigo to a lucky winner, simply by becoming a member.
The Bendigo Flight Centre Summer Cup is an initiative to reward our best trainer over pre-season with a holiday package to Queensland.