JOB WELL DONE SPIRIT

Part four of Westy's top 20 sports stories of 2013

5 - TIGERS LOSE THEIR ROAR: The jungle drums started beating last December that Kyneton was going to struggle to field a senior team in the Bendigo Football League this year following a mass exodus of players.

And despite the best efforts of the committee through January to find the numbers for a senior team, the decision was made on February 1 to withdraw from the senior competition.

A town the size of Kyneton and based between Bendigo and Melbourne not having the numbers to field a senior team - how did it get to that?

The common theme in the aftermath of the decision was "culture", while 10 years mired towards the bottom of the ladder didn't help either.

Hopefully, the decision is looked back on as the wake-up call the club needed and with Mark Adamson at the helm as coach, the Tigers head into 2014 with a fresh slate and renewed optimism.

4 - DELLY DRAFTED: Working for the Addy, I never thought I'd be covering NBA stories.

But thanks to the exploits of Maryborough's Matthew Dellavedova - a former Bendigo Brave junior - NBA coverage has become a regular in the Addy sports pages this year.

What a magnificent achievement by Dellavedova to earn a spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA roster in October.

And he did it the hard way. After he was overlooked in June's NBA Draft following a standout College career with St Mary's, he impressed for the Cavaliers' Summer League team and in eight pre-season games for the club to earn his spot.

Great effort Delly, but how will you go when you're on the floor against me and my Chicago Bulls in NBA 2K14 on the Xbox?

3- SQUARE'S FANTASTIC FIVE: Those at the QEO on September 21 were witness to a phenomenal achievement as Golden Square became just the third team in BFL history to win at least five senior flags in a row. 

The Bulldogs kicked away from Strathfieldsaye in the second half of the grand final to win by 21 points, 14.18 (102) to 12.9 (81).

It wasn't decided by an after-the-siren kick like the previous year's BFL grand final, but it was an enthralling contest that was still up for grabs entering time-on of the final term.

It takes a team effort to win a grand final, but Nalder medallist Jack Geary's third quarter in the midfield for Square was as good a 30 minutes of footy I've seen from a player.

The question now is can Golden Square next year equal Sandhurst's BFL record of six flags in a row?

I reckon the Storm and Dragons may have something to say about that.

2 - ESSENDON SUPPLEMENTS SCANDAL: OK, so this isn't local, but when I look back on 2013, the sorry saga of the Bombers is what will immediately spring to mind.

You couldn't escape the story - which needs no introduction - once it broke on February 5 and even now is still on the front pages. 

The supplements scandal took the focus away from what was happening on-field and the game certainly lost some of its innocence because of it.

For us Bomber fans, it was the year from hell as the club we love continued to be shrouded in controversy and uncertainty, all of which it brought on itself with its "lack of governance". How many times did we hear that term this year?

But I'm sure you're sick of reading about it like me, so enough on that.

1 - SUPER SPIRIT SALUTES: Bendigo: national champions - it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

In March, that's exactly what the Bendigo Spirit became when it won the WNBL championship with a 71-57 grand final win over the Townsville Fire at the Bendigo Stadium.

It's a mighty achievement considering just over 12 months earlier the Spirit (pictured) were facing financial hardship and on the brink of going out of business, let alone the club was only in its sixth season or the fact Bendigo as a regional city is only a minnow compared to the rest of the WNBL's cities.

Well done Spirit - Bendigo's sporting story of the year.

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