Bendigo to play new rivals in VFL opener

AFTER 10 seasons as aligned partners, Bendigo and Essendon will lock horns in round one of the VFL next season.

The 2013 VFL fixture was released yesterday, with the Gold to open their season on a Friday night against Essendon at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Both Bendigo and Essendon are fielding stand-alone teams next season after their alignment since 2003 ended this year.

Gold general manager Graham Pratt expects there to be plenty of feeling and passion between the two teams when they clash on April 5.

“I think there’s every chance there’s going to be some passion and feeling in that game, and I’d hope so, because there are blokes who have played with each other who won’t want to have their colours lowered to what’s now an opposition player,” Pratt said yesterday.

“So I would imagine it’s going to be a fairly intense type of game.”

Essendon will be coached by Hayden Skipworth, who guided the Gold this year, while the Bombers have also signed Bendigo’s co-captain of the past two seasons, Ben Duscher.

The round one clash against the Bombers is one of four Friday night games the Gold will play at the QEO next season.

They will also play country rivals North Ballarat (April 19), Collingwood (April 26) and Geelong (August 23) in Friday night matches.

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