EMOTIONS ran high in the Queen Elizabeth Oval changerooms post-match Friday night following the Bendigo Gold’s last game before folding.
Coach Aussie Jones, chairman Tim Dickson and captain Steven Stroobants all spoke following the Gold’s 20.11 (131) to 13.7 (85) loss to Collingwood that brought down the curtain on 17 years of VFL in Bendigo.
“A lot of people have asked me about what type of feelings I’ve had this week.
“My overwhelming feeling is pride... the pride I have in every one of you (the players) and everyone who is involved in our football club.
“What you guys have is character, and there’s a lot of guys playing local footy who should be here, but don’t have the courage to step up.
“I have no doubt every one of you boys will go on to bigger and better things.
“Every parent of these kids should be so proud... we told them eight weeks ago their club is not going ahead and they’ve stuck it out.
“It’s the end of the club, but not the end of the friendships we’ve made.”
“It’s obviously a tough time and I don’t say this lightly, but this has been the most rewarding experience of my football life.
“It’s hard to explain and make sense out of considering some of the circumstances that have been thrown our way.
“But there has been a really strong focus of our football club to respect people, treat people the way you want to be treated and enjoy every moment of what we’ve done together. Have a look at the friendships that have been made and you’ve shown what sort of characters you are.
“Don’t get five years down the track and have what-ifs, chase your dreams because you have the character, the fight, the strength.
“Everyone has different motivations of why they continue on... prove people wrong.
“It has been an absolute pleasure knowing you and coaching you.”
“Aussie... one of the best coaches I’ve had and it has been a pleasure knowing and playing under you.
“The work Tim has done has been incredible.
“To all the guys here who wash our jumpers, give us our shorts, wash our socks and do everything for us like our parents, I can’t thank everyone enough.”