South Bendigo's premiership stars recall glory days

PREMIERS: Some of South Bendigo’s team after the 1994 grand final victory against Golden Square.

PREMIERS: Some of South Bendigo’s team after the 1994 grand final victory against Golden Square.

PREMIERSHIP winning stars in South Bendigo Football Club teams from the 50s to the 90s will reunite on Saturday at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Players from some of the club’s greatest eras will watch the Bloods take on Kyneton.

A key feature of the reunion is the 1994 premiership team.

Players from the grand final winning teams of the 50s, 1969, ’74, ’90, ’91 and ’93 have been invited to join in the celebrations.

It was in September, 1994 that South Bendigo beat Golden Square by 48 points.

The Bloods’ players and fans celebrated what was the  24th senior premiership in the Bendigo Football League.

A superb season included the reserves winning the grand final against Maryborough.

A key player throughout South Bendigo’s run in the early to mid ’90s was gun rover Peter Tyack.

He will be at the QEO today chasing another victory as co-coach of the senior team with Neale Torpey.

“We will be aiming to put on a good show, especially in front of so many great players in the club’s history,” Tyack said.

The ’94 grand final was the 15th that Tyack played in.

“The ’94 season was one of the most dominant in the club’s history,” Tyack said yesterday.

It was Peter Curran’s second year as playing senior coach of the Bloods.

“Peter took charge in ’93 which was the club’s centenary year and was a driving force behind another premiership.

“In ’94 we had a fantastic group of players.

“There had been a turnover from the previous year, but the core group of players was really strong.

“Selecting the senior team was a difficult task every week. There was so much depth at the club.”

Tyack said the run from ’89 to ’94 was incredible.

 South played in six senior grand finals across seven seasons and won the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup five times.

The amazing era kicked off with the arrival of former Essendon and Collingwood player Peter Bradbury as senior playing coach at South in 1989.

Bradbury’s first year in the red and white ended in a grand final loss to Golden Square.

The Bradbury-led Bloods then went back-to-back by beating Square in ’90 and Castlemaine the following September.

“Peter Bradbury and Peter Curran were outstanding coaches and leaders,” Tyack said.

“They had different styles of coaching, but were extremely successful.”

Both had played in premiership teams. Bradbury at Essendon and Curran at Hawthorn.

They brought a ruthless approach to every game South Bendigo contested.

“Peter Bradbury was so tough in every contest.

“Peter Curran  had a lot of footy smarts and was always dangerous inside forward 50m,” said Tyack.

A brilliant on-ball brigade in ‘94 included John Hill in the ruck, Stephen Ralph as ruck-rover, Simon McLean in the centre, and Tyack as rover.

“John Hill joined the club in ’93 and was a fantastic ruckman and clubman.”

Hill’s tapwork and marking played a big part in South’s success in back-to-back premiership years.

He earned the VCFL medal in the ’94 grand final.

South Bendigo slammed on eight goals in the opening quarter of the ’94 decider.

Full-forward David Nicholas went on to kick a match-high seven goals.

The Bloods were too strong for the John Miller-coached Golden Square line-up that included the likes of Michelsen medallist Derek  Percival, Bert McIvor, Phil Walsh, Brian Dorrington, Joe Geary, Paul McConville and teenager Nick Carter.

The Nalder medal in the grand final of two decades ago was earned by back pocket Robbin Keck.

The lead-up to the big clash included South Bendigo’s reserves overcoming a slow start to win the season decider against Maryborough.

Phil Hetherington kicked six goals for the Bloods and earned the Dick Turner Memorial medal.

The club’s quest for a premiership hat-trick, which had not been done since the Alan ‘Fox’ McDonald-coached seasons in the mid 1950s, was thwarted in 1995 by Kyneton.

The Tigers were coached by BFL great Derrick Filo.

South’s premier team in ’74 was coached by Bernie McCarthy, while Colin Rice was in charge in ’69.

South Bendigo’s seniors line-up in the ’94 grand final:

B: Craig Osborne, Deon Marks, Robbin Keck.

Hb: Shaun Leech, David McMurray, David Turner.

C: Francis Burke, Simon McLean, Adam Shanahan.

Hf: Stephen McMurray, Mark Hall, Kristian Brown.

F: Peter Curran, David Nicholas, Ross Maxted.

Foll: John Hill, Stephen Ralph, Peter Tyack.

Inter: Brett Ryan, David Symons.

Scoreboard from the 1994 BFL senior grand final:

South Bendigo .8.4 13.6 18.12 20.15 (135)

Golden Square .........2.1 5.3 9.6 13.9 (87)

South Bendigo  goals – D. Nicholas 7, K. Brown, S. McLean, S. Ralph 2, A. Shanahan, P. Tyack 2, F. Burke, P. Curran, Mark Hall.

South Bendigo best - J. Hill, A. Shanahan, R. Keck, C. Osborne, F. Burke, K. Brown, S. McLean, D. Nicholas, P. Curran. 

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