BFNL end of season review – Teams 1 to 5

BFNL'S BEST: Strathfieldsaye won the 2017 premiership with a 32-point grand final win over Eaglehawk at the QEO. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
BFNL'S BEST: Strathfieldsaye won the 2017 premiership with a 32-point grand final win over Eaglehawk at the QEO. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

CLUB by club review of the 2017 Bendigo Football-Netball League season.


Record – 18-4, 197%

Avg. for/against – 118/60

Attack ranking – 1st

Defence ranking – 1st

Quarters won – 61 of 88

Players used – 40

Avg. player points – 34.7

Comparison to last year –

+4 wins, +27 points per game improvement

(attack: +27, defence:


Club best top five:

Kallen Geary – 52

Lachlan Sharp – 44

Trent Donnan – 40

Josh Formosa – 34

Jamieson Sheahan – 34

Based on weekly best players: 6 points for best, 5 for second best and so on.

Top goalkickers:

Lachlan Sharp – 142

Shannon Geary – 26

Harry Conway – 25

Josh Formosa – 19

Brad Stringer – 14

What a season by the Storm that will be etched into the annals of Bendigo league history as they captured all three football premierships – the first club since Gisborne in 2002 to do so.

Rival clubs could have been forgiven for hoping the Storm just may have been on the slide after their 2014-2015 premierships were followed by a straight-sets finals exit last year. Wishful thinking.

It seems 2016 was merely a blip on the radar as the Storm re-asserted their dominance in 2017 by winning their third flag in just their ninth year of existence.

His praises have been sung all year, but the efforts of forward Lachlan Sharp to produce the season he did off the back of a knee reconstruction deserves another acknowledgement.

A premiership medal, AFL Victoria Country grand final medal, Michelsen Medal and Ron Best Medal made for an individual season that will go down as one of the greatest in BFNL history.

The end of an era in terms of Darryl Wilson’s seven years as Storm coach closing, with big shoes left to fill for his replacement.


COACH: Eaglehawk's Josh Bowe in his return to Canterbury Park fell short of leading the Hawks to their first premiership since 2008. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

COACH: Eaglehawk's Josh Bowe in his return to Canterbury Park fell short of leading the Hawks to their first premiership since 2008. Picture: GLENN DANIELS


Record – 17-3, 161%

Avg. for/against – 111/68

Attack ranking – 2nd

Defence ranking – 4th

Quarters won – 55 of 80

Players used – 33

Avg. player points – 32.1

Comparison to last year – 

+5 wins, +19 points

(attack: +16, defence: +3)

Club best top five:

Ben McPhee – 43

Josh Bowe – 34

Brodie Collins – 33

Scott Hann – 29

Jesse Collins – 27

Top goalkickers:

Matt Gretgrix – 73

Ben McPhee – 38

Sean Williams – 35

Riley Saunders – 28

Matt Filo – 19

Bitter pill for the Hawks to swallow after squandering a 20-point lead at three quarter-time in the grand final against Strathfieldsaye and going down by 32.

Finished top of the ladder and played some brilliant football, particularly in the second half of the season as part of the 14-game winning streak they carried into the grand final.

But in the last 30 minutes of the season they had nothing left in the tank and a year that had promised plenty ended in disappointment.

Making a grand final was an improvement on last season’s preliminary final and there’s now a host of youngsters who have had their first taste on the biggest of stages, but there’s no denying a massive opportunity in 2017 has gone begging.


Record – 15-5-1, 160%

Avg. for/against – 97/60

Attack ranking – 5th

Defence ranking – 2nd

Quarters won – 54 of 84

Players used – 34

Avg. player points – 34.6

Comparison to last year – 

-2 wins, -15 points

(attack: -16, defence: +1)

Golden Square co-captain Jack Geary.

Golden Square co-captain Jack Geary.

Club best top five:

Tom Toma – 57

Jon Coe – 46

Jack Geary – 44

Travis Baird – 43

Matt Compston – 42

Top goalkickers:

Travis Baird – 49

Dylan Johnstone – 42

Adam Baird – 28

Jake Thrum – 25

Jordan Rosengren – 25

Were one of the big unknowns heading into the season given the Bulldogs lost half their grand final side from last year and had a new coach at the helm in the astute Bernie Haberman, who conceded “I don’t know what I’m going to get”.

What Haberman got was a team that, despite such significant upheaval from 12 months ago and two of its stars in Jack Geary – who still finished runner-up in the Michelsen Medal – and Travis Baird missing at least five games through injury, was just 16 points off playing in another grand final and one of the elite defensive sides in the competition.

Golden Square was able to contend again in what was also a strong year of development given the Bulldogs had a dozen players get their first taste of senior BFNL finals action throughout September, which will hold them in good stead going forward.

Underneath, it was unfamiliar to see neither the Bulldogs’ reserves or under-18 teams in the finals, while it was the first season since 2007 none of the club’s three football sides made a grand final.



Record – 12-7-1, 147%

Avg. for/against – 100/68

Attack ranking – 4th

Defence ranking – 3rd

Quarters won – 53 of 80

Players used – 40

Avg. player points – 27.7

Comparison to last year – 

-6 wins, -28 points

(attack: -17, defence: -11)

Sandhurst captain Blair Holmes.

Sandhurst captain Blair Holmes.

Club best top five:

Blair Holmes – 43

Andrew Collins – 39

Joel Wharton – 34

Lee Coghlan – 34

Tim Martin – 32

Top goalkickers:

Andrew Collins – 42

Kristan Height – 26

Lee Coghlan – 22

Blair Holmes – 20

Seb Greene – 17

Sandhurst must have done something to upset the Football Gods for they didn’t shine on the Dragons in defence of their premiership.

Season started as the Dragons red-hot $1.55 favourites to go back-to-back, but a cursed run with injury to key players – Kristan Height, Andrew Collins, Tim Martin, Nick Stagg, Adam Parry, Matt Thornton and Lachlan Ross all missed chunks – never allowed Sandhurst to hit top gear.

Won five games late in the season, including the elimination final against Kyneton, but were left to rue early missed opportunities in what was a four-point first semi-final loss to Golden Square that ended their 2017 campaign.

Andrew Collins has already been appointed the new coach after Wayne Primmer stood down.



Record – 10-7-2, 129%

Avg. for/against – 107/83

Attack ranking – 3rd

Defence ranking – 6th

Quarters won – 45 of 76

Players used – 34

Avg. player points – 37.5

Comparison to last year – 

Same wins, +17 points 

(attack: +10, defence: +7)

Ben Weightman kicked 96 goals for Kyneton.

Ben Weightman kicked 96 goals for Kyneton.

Club best top five:

Rhys Magin – 53

Josh Govan – 48

Ben Weightman – 37

Billy Mahony – 29

Taylor Kelly – 28

Top goalkickers:

Ben Weightman – 96

Mitch Scholard – 55

Max O’Sullivan – 22

Rhys Magin – 20

Daniel Davie, Nicholas

Brazil – 14

A third-straight finals appearance for the Tigers, but yet again were unable to get past the first week when beaten in the elimination final, this time by Sandhurst.

One of those “what could have been seasons” for the Tigers given they lost four games by seven points or less and drew two others – the first time that has happened to a BFL team since 1988 – but ultimately, the only other finalist they beat was Sandhurst once.

At one stage were on their best winning streak since 1997 – their last premiership year – of six in a row.