Gold's demise hurts our city

Bendigo Gold's decision to hand back its VFL licence is a sad day for our city.

Image is vital for a progressive and vibrant city and having your own VFL team certainly helps in that regard.

Ballarat has made a go of their VFL team and fueled by its success now stand on the verge of hosting AFL games. With Bendigo Gold gone, our city has all but lost any chance of achieving such a thing.

The value of Bendigo Gold in offering pathways for young footballers has long been debated but it's clear the team offered such opportunity. Bendigo Advertiser football writer Luke West has identified up to nine players who have found their way to AFL lists via our VFL team with Stewart Crameri perhaps the best of those success stories.

But at the end of the day clubs can only survive on the back of success and that's what has brought Bendigo Gold down.

It's clear through the VFL team's 16-year history in Bendigo - Diggers, Bombers and now Gold - that as a stand alone club it's struggled. To pinch some more Luke West research, the team made the finals six times when aligned with Essendon but won only seven of 123 games on their own.

We should applaud all those who have played a role in getting a VFL team onto the field in Bendigo and all those who have worked tirelessly to try and make it succeed.

It's certainly not through want of effort that Bendigo Gold and our VFL association has come to an end.

We should also thank all those who stepped forward to save the Bendigo Gold during a call to arms in July last year.

So now the Bendigo Gold critics will scream 'told you so' and the fans will lament what could have been.

One things for sure - Bendigo will be the poorer when we wave goodbye to our VFL team at the end of the season.


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