THEY no longer have their football club, but former players and staff ensured the spirit of the Bendigo Gold lives on when they caught up for a relaxing ale at the One Tree Hill Hotel on Saturday.
All have had to find new clubs to be involved with after the Gold folded in August after two stand-alone seasons in the VFL.
“Aussie (Jones, former coach) said he was coming back to Bendigo for a beer today and the word spread around fairly quickly,” former Gold chairman Tim Dickson said.
“All the boys have said they want to catch up once a year... it’s fairly casual, but all the boys and the staff will drift in throughout the day and get together.
“The boys are a really tight group and they all just got on so well... they love being around each other.”
One notable absentee from Saturday’s catch-up was Tyrone Downie.
Downie was selected by the Gold Coast Suns at Wednesday’s AFL rookie draft.
The drafting of Downie created an extra buzz among his former team-mates on Saturday.
“It’s sensational for Tyrone and we couldn’t be happier for him,” Dickson said.
“One of our boys, Galen Munari, posted a picture the other day of a receipt for a Gold Coast jumper with No.38 on the back.”
One of the talking points for the ex-Gold players on Saturday was Downie having spent the previous night having dinner at his new team-mate Gary Ablett’s house.
Only a week earlier Downie had been working in the parks department for the City of Greater Bendigo.
Meanwhile, the Gold players from this year are heading to a variety of new clubs to continue their careers next season.
While Downie is headed to the AFL, some will continue in the VFL, while others will head back to local level.
• Where some of this year’s Gold players are headed next season:
Tyrone Downie - Gold Coast Suns (AFL).
Matt Farrelly - Geelong (VFL).
Trent Donnan - Woomelang Lascelles (Mallee league).
Joe Redfern - Werribee (VFL).
Steven Stroobants - Rochester (Goulburn Valley league).
Jesse Collins - North Ballarat (VFL).
Riley McIvor - Eaglehawk (Bendigo league).
Galen Munari - Sandhurst (Bendigo league).
Jeremy Lambden - Kangaroo Flat (Bendigo league).
Che Walls - Golden Square (Bendigo league).
Daniel Toman - Port Melbourne (VFL).
Grant Valles - undecided.
Jordan Hargreaves - Wedderburn (North Central league).
Jake Aarts - Richmond (VFL).
Aussie Jones - Cora Lynn (director of coaching, Ellinbank District league).