AS if the rivalry between Sandhurst and Golden Square wasn't intense enough as is, it's bound to go up another notch on Sunday when the two clubs vie for the Reg Ford Shield.
Ford's name is synonymous with both the Bulldogs and the Dragons and he is certainly deserving of a shield named in his honour after his 20-year playing contribution to both All Seasons Bendigo Football League clubs.Golden Square Football Club operations manager Darren Lewis said the club wanted to mark the match between the two traditional rivals by honouring a person who had had a significant impact with both Golden Square and Sandhurst.
Ford fitted the bill perfectly, being one of only two men to coach both Sandhurst and Golden Square to senior premierships, the other being legendary goal-kicker Ron Best.
Ford was born in Tallygaroopna in 1910 and began his career with Sandhurst in 1929 - the start of a golden era for the Dragons, who won six straight flags between 1929 and 1934.
He also coached the Dragons' reserves to six premierships, before accepting the role of coach at Golden Square in 1938, guiding the Bulldogs to the 1938 and 1939 flags, the first premierships in the club's history.
Ford returned to Sandhurst in 1946, taking over as coach in 1947 and leading the Dragons to a hat-trick of premierships before retiring in 1949 after asthma took its toll.
He hung up the boots with 13 premierships as a player and five as a coach to his name and was awarded life membership of the BFL in 1955.
Ford died 25 years ago, but his widow Thelma, 95, was on hand at Xerox Oval yesterday as the shield in his honour was launched.
"We thought Reg's record has probably never been really recognised and this is a good way for us to do it," Lewis said yesterday.
Sunday will be Golden Square's first game of the season after having the bye last week, while Sandhurst opened its season in winning fashion.
The Dragons sit in second position on the ladder after last Sunday night's 29-point win over Kangaroo Flat at the Queen Elizabeth Oval.
"Reg obviously had a great coaching career, and a great career in football, and we're looking forward to it for being Kieren Prowse's 100th game too, so we're hoping to put on a good performance," Dragons' coach David Collins said.
Golden Square was the last team to beat Sandhurst when it defeated the Dragons by 18 points in round 11 last year.
Since then, Sandhurst has won 11 straight games, including a 29-point win over Gisborne in last year's grand final.
"Whenever we play Golden Square, we know we're always going to be in for a tough game, no matter where the teams are on the ladder," Collins said.