THE Bendigo Dragons are already planning their assault on the next Gridiron Victoria season after an impressive debut campaign came to an end on Sunday.
The Dragons were bundled out of division two finals 32-6 by top team Monash Barbarians.
Bendigo was in the match early after Callum Kirkpatrick finished off some good work by Fareni Moefaauo to run in a touchdown.
The Dragons only trailed 14-6 at half-time but couldn’t reel in the deficit.
“Because we were behind 14-6 we had to take some chances in the end and that just led to the score blowing out because we got some interceptions against our quarterback,” coach Robert Hunter said.
“Going into half-time the game was well and truly in the balance still.
“Coming up against the number one team we were always in for a tough fight. You could see it was rookie mistakes that just led to that loss.”
The Dragons won three matches in their first season and have laid the foundations for success.
It’s estimated about 2000 spectators watched Bendigo’s first home game – and first win – against the Ballarat Falcons.
“Financially we’re very strong and player-wise we’ve got a good, strong core group,” Hunter said.
“If we’ve got enough players that want to come down and play next year, then two teams is not out of the question.
“Next year it’s back to the finals with the goal of winning a final. We went past our expectations for this year in making the finals.
“We’re very pleased with the beginning to it and for me it’s got a real direction of where we’re going to go.”
The Dragons will launch their under-18s’ debut season next month and still have positions available for interested players aged 14-18.
“The guys that are 16, 17 or 18-year-olds, technically they can qualify for the senior team next year so it’s a good grounding,” Hunter said.