THE legendary goalkicking career of Ron Best in the Bendigo league is book-ended by a pair of double figure hauls.
A stunning debut that featured 14 goals for Golden Square against Castlemaine in 1968 as an 18-year-old; and a bag of 11 goals for Northern United in his swansong: the 1984 grand final against Eaglehawk.
The goalkicking feats of Best were last week referenced in a piece in the Bendigo Advertiser listing the most hauls of double figure goals kicked in the BFNL since 1978 - as far back as I'd researched in terms of complete game-by-game records.
The piece was prompted by Strathfieldsaye's Lachlan Sharp's 17th bag of 10-plus goals moving him to third behind the BFNL's two greatest goalkickers for most double-figure hauls since 1978, with Steven Oliver boasting 24 and Best 23.
However, the timeframe only captures part of Best's historic career given it had started with a bang at Golden Square 10 years earlier.
Given Best had kicked at least 10 goals 23 times between 1978 and his last game in 1984 - even more impressive given his absence for two years in 1981 and 1982 while at Boort - how many times among his tally of 1624 goals must he have done it in his entire career?
The answer is a remarkable 48 times Best walked off a Bendigo league ground with at least 10 goals to his name through his stints at Golden Square, Sandhurst and Northern United.
Breaking down those bags of 48 10-plus goals, Best kicked 29 for Golden Square, 12 for Sandhurst and seven for Northern United.
And clearly he enjoyed playing against Kyneton.
Best's top nine performances - games in which he kicked at least 14 goals - feature five matches against Kyneton, including two in his 1980 goal-fest of 161.
It was Kyneton that was on the receiving end of Best's biggest day out in the Bendigo league when he booted 16 against the Tigers in round 20 of 1969.
Adding to Best's exploits that day was that he kicked 16 out of a total of just 21 Golden Square goals in a game the Bulldogs won 142-89.
Nine times in his career Best kicked 10-plus goals against Kyneton, but he surpassed that with a total of 10 against Castlemaine.
The first of those 10 against the Magpies was in his famous debut game in round four of 1968 when Best had 23 shots at goal for a return of 14.9 as the Bulldogs won 17.18 (120) to 8.13 (61) at Camp Reserve.
"The huge crowd of Castlemaine supporters sat in silence on Saturday and watched agog as an 18-year-old youth sent the Magpies reeling back into the field," footy scribe Noel Maud wrote in the Bendigo Advertiser on the Monday after Best burst onto the scene.
"Ron Best, 18, 6.1, 13.7, kicked 14 goals 9 behinds against Castlemaine, and kicked most of them while being watched by two Magpie backmen.
"Best's performance is being freely described as the outstanding debut by any player to come into the B.F.L. for years."
Best's clearance to Golden Square from Heidelberg had only come through on the morning of the game.
Best followed up with another 10 goals against South Bendigo the following week in what would go on to be the greatest career by a Bendigo league forward.
As well as his 10 bags of 10-plus against Castlemaine and nine against Kyneton, Best's breakdown includes nine against Kennington, eight against Eaglehawk, seven against South Bendigo, two against Sandhurst and one each against Rochester, White Hills and YCW.
Best kicked 16 goals once; 15 twice; 14 six times; 13 twice; 12 nine times; 11 12 times and 10 16 times, with the 48 games where he kicked double figures totaling 556 goals.
Best's 1624 goals - Oliver with 1021 for Castlemaine is the only other player with 1000 goals in the Bendigo league - featured 12 centuries: 106 in 1968, 137 in 1969, 107 in 1970, 111 in 1971 (at Golden Square) 108 in 1973, 135 in 1974, 145 in 1975, 108 in 1976 (at Sandhurst), 124 in 1978, 132 in 1979, 161 in 1980 (back at Golden Square) and 124 in 1983 at Northern United.
His greatest season in 1980 of 161 goals featured eight games where he kicked 10-plus goals, which followed seven hauls in 1979.
Best's 161 goals in 1980 - 145 in the home and away season and 16 in finals - are surpassed only by Grant Weeks' 164 for Golden Square in 2012 and Frank Crapper's 163 for Eaglehawk in 1933.
Given his goalkicking exploits, it's clear why the BFNL's leading goalkicker award is named after Best.
But the BFNL could only seek to bestow such an honour on Best post his career. So when Best won the goalkicking 10 times during his career, what was he awarded?
It was the Bob Chappel Medal.
RON BEST'S 48 DOUBLE FIGURE BAGS OF GOALS
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