WITH four premierships in a row, Golden Square has etched its name into Bendigo Football League folklore.
The Bulldogs have become just the fifth team in the 132-year history of the BFL to win at least four flags in a row, joining the great teams of Eaglehawk (1894-98), South Bendigo (1909-12), Sandhurst (1930-34) and Northern United (1984-87) in the elite company.
A year after their record-breaking 135-romp over Eaglehawk in the grand final, this time, the Bulldogs snuck home by three points against Gisborne – 16.10 (106) to 14.19 (103) – when a 50m kick after the final siren from Gisborne’s Rod Sharp landed on the goalline.
“I was about 30 metres away from Sharpy when the siren sounded,” Golden Square coach Mark Lloyd said.
“When he kicked it I thought it was going through, but luckily big Zac May got a fist in there.”
While the final margin was just three points, earlier, Golden Square had got off to a flying start when it led by 34 points four minutes into the second quarter.
“We were lucky we got off to a good start, but we know that Gisborne being the side they are, they will never die and they’d keep coming at us,” Lloyd said.
“For a lot of the game we probably only needed one more goal to close the door on them, but they would get a clearance and a goal to keep in it.
“It was just hard-fought right until the end.
“It was lucky the siren went when it did, because we were just about out on our legs at the end.”
One of the key differences between the two sides was Golden Square’s ability to take its chances inside 50.
Golden Square had seven less scoring shots than Gisborne, but made the most of its opportunities, which included kicking 13 goals from its first 17 scoring shots.
“We had seven scoring shots to five in that first quarter and kicked 6.1 to 1.4, so we were fortunate we took our opportunities early,” Lloyd said.
“They kept coming at us all day, but luckily, we were able to hold them off.”
While the win was Golden Square’s fourth flag in a row, overall, it was the Bulldogs’ 16th senior premiership.
“Gisborne had been the No.1 side all year, but we were lucky enough that we peaked at the right time and we were able to get it done today,” Lloyd said.
The Nalder Medal for best on ground was awarded to Golden Square captain Simon Rosa, who was at his brilliant best through the midfield and kicked four goals, including two in the first term.
“I said to him after the game that it’s the best game I’ve seen him play,” Lloyd said.
“Particularly when we had to push uphill a fair bit when we couldn’t get our hands on the ball. He just kept getting the ball out of the middle when we needed to and down to our forwards.
“He was unbelievable and deserving of the Nalder Medal.”
During Golden Square’s four premiership years of 2009, 2010, 2011 and this season, the Bulldogs have won a remarkable 75 of 82 games.
Lloyd, Dale Young, Adam Baird, Matt O’Toole and Jack Geary – who still hasn’t played in a loss in 45 senior games – have played in all four premierships.
● The premiership team:
Mark Lloyd (coach), Simon Rosa (captain), Clayton Anderson, Adam Baird, Travis Baird, Rhys Bradley, Christian Carter, Brayden Dorrington, Matthew Compston, Jack Geary, Jason Griffin, Luke Hammond, Dale Lowry, Zac May, Jake McLean, Hamish Morcom, Matt O’Toole, Aiden Pratt, Comanche Walls, Grant Weeks, Sam Wilkie, Dale Young.