In 2013, the Bendigo Gold Football Club will represent the region with great pride. For the first time in 10 years, we will do it as a stand-alone entity with a clear focus on local players, staff and support. We do not have an AFL feeder club and in my opinion that is a positive.
On October 29 last year, a group of young men from across northern Victoria started a long summer designed to educate and prepare them for VFL footy, a first insight at this level for the majority of the group.
What we have seen has been impressive. The players have accepted every challenge and have become as united as a group as we could have hoped for.
We remain realistic in our outlook, but do know these young men have a very clear mindset of what they want to achieve.
We may not set a specific win-loss goal, but there will be a clear message of continued improvement.
We have had great support from Dave Newett at the Bendigo Pioneers and will add five players to our list from their previous season.
Long term, our football club will have a culture and reputation that our ability to provide a continued pathway will be recognised and this trend will only continue to grow.
Our staff have laid the platform for a successful pre-season campaign.
Our coaches all have experience in success, yet we all have different strengths and have complemented each other well.
On the management of players, I would be very surprised if any club had the experience and knowledge of our strength and conditioning group.
The playing group has been managed through a rigorous summer without too many setbacks or injuries to players.
In the short-term, we are very positive. Long-term, our chairman has a very clear message.
We must build a strong culture, be a positive community partner and provide a continued pathway for players from the region.
Our culture is what we make it. It is positive, united and strong.
We will build on loyalty and longevity of players as we achieve together.
In terms of community partnerships, we are delivering. Our camp will be held in Bendigo from Friday, March 1 until Sunday, March 3.
We will do charity exercises with primary schools, Rotary and St Lukes, all while continuing to work hard in preparation for 2013. We will supply RecLink with their uniform among other initiatives.
The continued pathway is one aspect I am very dedicated to. We must provide players that missed their opportunity as young players to play AFL.
We must allow players who develop late an opportunity and we must be open to players who see our club as a great opportunity to play regular VFL senior footy.
We know our direction and are all extremely committed to it.