Loyal Golden Square fans share a grand plan

SYLVIA and Frank Bolitho are two of Golden Square Football Netball Club’s biggest fans.

The couple live a stone’s throw from Golden Square’s home ground and are sure Golden Square will overcome Gisborne on Saturday in the BFNL grand final.

“I reckon it’ll be eight or nine goals if they don’t get sucked in,” Frank said.

“(Square) got sucked in last time they played. We kicked seven goals and they didn’t score in the first quarter, but a few of our blokes were having whacks at them in the second and they got four goals and turned the game around.”

Sylvia isn’t so sure the game will be as open as Frank thinks.

“I think it might be close, I’ll say about three or four goals,” she said.

Frank has just returned home from hospital and is eager to get to the ground on Saturday.

“We never miss a game but I had to last week,” he said.

Frank started playing for Golden Square in 1940 when he fronted up for the under-21 side.

At 91, he is the oldest living player at the Bulldogs and still remembers his senior debut.

“At the time, Fortuna was full of army troops and there were a few West Australians who were very good footballers,” he said.

“I was playing in under-21s and the seniors were short of players so they grabbed five of us and drove us to Maryborough to play against them. 

“We got beat, I think.

“Maryborough pulled out after that. All the country clubs had to go because of petrol rationing for the war.”

With rationing and the country clubs dwindling during WWII, it was hard to keep funds up.

Frank and his team-mates formed what they called The Mustard Club to raise funds for new clubrooms.

“The main thing just after the war was the money. You couldn’t run a club on a chook raffle. It was impossible,” he said.

“We used to have rabbit drives, which were very successful.

“We’d get a couple of bus-loads to Newbridge and scour the paddocks, net them and come back with a few hundred rabbits and make good money in those times.”

In 1958, Frank was made a life member of “The Square”, as he and Sylvia still call it. He played in two premierships, the last in 1945.

“We got beat in another by a few points,” Frank said.

“But it was all about keeping the club going. We kept raising money and started to get the ball rolling with getting the clubrooms.

“We dug the foundations and used to have regular working bees. It took 12 years, or something like that.”

A strong sense of loyalty and living all his life in Golden Square kept Frank at the football club, with wife Sylvia coming to Bendigo in 1950.

“I was from Ballarat but we met in Traralgon,” Sylvia, 81, said.

“I came here at the end of 1950 and have followed the Square ever since.”

After 62 years supporting Golden Square, Sylvia showed even more loyalty when the Bulldogs won the premiership last year.

To celebrate the win, she go a tattoo of the club’s logo.

“It was my 80th birthday and I thought I’d do something silly for it,” she said.

“It didn’t hurt but that was probably because of my old skin.

“I’m thinking of getting my other arm done for the Swans this year. They’ll beat Collingwood, I’m sure.”

Sylvia and Frank have seen some talented players come through the Golden Square ranks including Wayne Campbell, Greg Williams, Peter McConville and Ricky Nixon.

But the best players Frank has seen at the club include Jimmy Wilson, Donnie Matthews and Allan Martin.

“Jimmy Wilson played at Melbourne and Lou Richards used to call him Tom Thumb,” Frank said.

“And Donnie Matthews, he wasn’t frightened to go and get the ball. 

“He’d get into a pack and come out with it.

“There’s to much tiggy touchwood these days, you had to earn your kicks in those days.”

Allan Martin played in the 1954 Footscray premiership and came to Golden Square as a coach.

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