BENDIGO Gold coach Aussie Jones is gutted that the end will come for the fledgling club later this year, but he believes the right decision has been made.
The Gold announced on Wednesday night it would not be renewing its VFL licence at the end of the season, with the club no longer sustainable in Australia’s second-best football competition.
Jones has coached the stand-alone Gold since the demise of the Bendigo-Essendon alignment at the end of 2012.
Jones has poured his heart and soul into the VFL’s toughest coaching job, but with the club continuing to be challenged on and off the field, he believes the decision to call time on the stand-alone Gold at the end of 2014 is the right one.
On-field, the Gold is 0-28 with an average losing margin of 87 points since reverting to the stand-alone model last year.
“It’s just the right decision... we’re confident that we’ve improved as a group this year, but not as much as the rest of the clubs and I think that’s a sign of how the competition is going to continue to evolve,” Jones said on Wednesday night.
“Every step we take, other clubs are going to take two and, unfortunately, the on-field and off-field situations just marry together that this is where we’re at.
“It’s certainly a tough call, but both Tim (Dickson, executive chairman) and I sit tight that it’s the right call at the right time, but it doesn’t make it any easier.”
While there have been no wins to celebrate as a stand-alone club, Jones has been amazed by the resilience of his playing group and expects that to continue over the Gold’s final eight games.
“I’m confident with this group that they will remain very strong for the rest of the year,” Jones said.
“Their resilience is as strong as I’ve seen in a group of players, which is remarkable when you think the average age is about 19-and-a-half.
“Even though they’ve only got a short time left with the Bendigo Gold, I’ve got no doubt they’ll all be a lot stronger on and off the ground for it. They are a tremendous group.”