IT’S now or never as the Bendigo Gold Football Club strives to achieve its first victory in what will be its last game this Friday night.
Gold has home-ground advantage for the Victorian Football League clash with the fifth-placed Collingwood at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
Chairman of the Gold’s board, Tim Dickson said there were mixed emotions leading into Friday’s finale.
Dickson urged all Gold members and supporters to be at the QEO in View Street for Wednesday night’s final training run.
The lead-up to the training session will include Bendigo Victory taking on Kardinia Cats from Geelong in a Reclink exhibition match from 3.30pm.
Gold coach Aussie Jones is also in charge of Victory.
Bendigo Gold’s final training run will start about 6pm. The night includes a barbecue tea.
Dickson said the decision by the board to not renew the VFL licence beyond this season was a daunting task.
“Individually and as a board there is disappointment the city and footy lose a tremendous asset,” Dickson said.
“Gold has such a tight-knit group, but now there will be players and staff heading in lots of different directions.
“The club will no longer be on the field, but I am sure those friendships, many built up over the years, will stay strong.”
Dickson is confident many footy fans will be at the QEO to cheer on Gold in their battle with the Magpies.
Hit by injuries at AFL and VFL level, Collingwood is likely to field not such a powerful line-up as the one that beat Bendigo by 115 points at Victoria Park in round seven.
Gold will look to key forward Tyrone Downie and captain Steven Stroobants to play key roles against the Magpies.
Recruited to Gold after a stint as playing coach at Kangaroo Flat, Tyrone Downie is the club’s leading goalkicker on 28.
Downie is 9th on a VFL list led by former Richmond and Bendigo Bank Pioneers midfielder Daniel Connors.
Now at Port Melbourne, Connors has kicked 35 goals.
Coburg’s Lech Featherstone, who played for Heathcote and the Bendigo Pioneers, is next in the goalkicking race on 34.
Footscray Bulldogs’ key forward Jack Redpath has kicked 30 goals. He was drafted to the Bulldogs from Kyneton.