BENDIGO Gold captain Steven Stroobants says the players will leave no stone unturned to snatch a win before the curtain comes down on the VFL club.
The Bendigo Gold have eight games left to secure a breakthrough stand-alone win following Wednesday night’s announcement that the club won’t be renewing its VFL licence at the end of the season.
With the decision taken by the board not to seek a new licence, time is running out for Bendigo in the VFL - a competition it joined in 1998 as the Diggers.
Since splitting with Essendon at the end of 2012 and going stand-alone, the Bendigo Gold have lost all 28 games by an average of 87 points.
But while the players have been told the club has no future beyond this year, Stroobants and his team-mates won’t just play out time.
“Even last night after we were told what’s happening, training was still really good and the players were all upbeat and up and about,” Stroobants said on Thursday.
“I reckon with what’s happened, we’ll see a few blokes step up another level and we’ll be doing all we can to try to get a win on the board before the end.”
The Gold’s farewell tour starts this Sunday against Sandringham at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
As well as the off-field distractions this week, the Gold players also have to overcome the disappointment of their heartbreaking loss to the Northern Blues last Sunday when they were beaten by five points off the last kick of the game.
“It has been a big week for the club and everyone is just looking forward to getting out there on Sunday against Sandringham and playing a game of footy,” said Stroobants, who bagged five goals against the Blues.
Stroobants - originally from Moulamein - joined the-then Bendigo Bombers seven years ago straight out of the Bendigo Pioneers and has stuck with the club through thick and thin.
“I’ve just wanted to play the best footy I can, but there’s also the challenge of playing against blokes on AFL lists and trying to beat them,” Stroobants said.
“That’s what I’ve most enjoyed about it and why I continue to do it... it has been a great experience.”
Stroobants says Wednesday night’s announcement that the Gold would finish at the end of the season came as a shock, but he understands the reasons behind the board’s decision after years of financial struggles continued to take its toll.
“Tim (Dickson, executive chairman), Aussie (Jones, coach) and all the board have done a lot of work with the community and all our stakeholders, but they’ve come to the right decision that it’s best for everyone to do this,” Stroobants said.
“To get through every year you need to have a sustainable future and at the moment, it doesn’t look like Bendigo can have one, which is disappointing.
“It’s tough to take after everyone has put their heart and soul into the club, and when you go back over the 17 years VFL has been here, you could reel off probably the best 50 footballers in the region and at some stage, they would have played VFL in Bendigo.”
Stroobants, 25, and his team-mates will now be on show for the next eight games as clubs - both locally and at state level - closely watch the Gold players for the remainder of the year knowing they will all be on the market for 2015.