AUSSIE Jones says clubs that are expecting the Bendigo Football League to next year be inundated with ex-Bendigo Gold players are in for a shock.
As the end for the Bendigo Gold in the VFL continues to draw near with just four games remaining, Jones says the bulk of his playing list has made it clear they want to continue to pursue VFL football next season and aren’t interested in staying in Bendigo and playing locally.
“I think there’s some people out there who think it’s good for the area that we’re finishing up,” Gold coach Jones said on Friday.
“But it’s not and most of our boys, even the locals, are going to go down to Melbourne.
“There won’t be the influx into Bendigo football that people may be thinking and I think people are going to be a bit surprised... the league isn’t going to be any stronger next year because we’re not around.
“All of the boys who have established themselves in our side are going to move on from Bendigo.
“I reckon there would have been a lot of people from clubs when we made the announcement not to go on rubbing their hands together, but it’s not going to eventuate the way they thought it would.”
The Gold meets Footscray in round 17 at the Whitten Oval on Sunday.
Footscray is a team that perfectly showcases the opportunity that will be lost to Bendigo after the Gold play their final game.
Three players who were named in Footscray’s extended squad of 27 on Thursday night - Jack Redpath, Tory Dickson and Tom Campbell - are all AFL-listed and all played with the Bendigo Bombers.
Ruckman Campbell won’t play against Bendigo after he was included in the Western Bulldogs’ team to play Hawthorn on Sunday.
The Western Bulldogs’ AFL list also includes another former Bendigo Bomber in Stewart Crameri.
The Gold face an almighty task on Sunday against the third-placed Footscray, which thumped Bendigo by 166 points in round four, 33.16 (214) to 7.6 (48).
“We competed for probably 100 of the 120 minutes against Williamstown last week,” Jones said.
“The clear focus is to try increase that to a full 120-minute effort on Sunday against what is a very good team.”
Sunday’s game starts at the earlier time of noon.