EDITION four of the series looking back on the 50 most dominant premiership seasons across the Bendigo, Heathcote District and Loddon Valley leagues since 1990.
44 - EAGLEHAWK 2008
Coach - Derrick Filo
Record - 16-2
Percentage - 167.8%
Average for - 135
Average against - 81
Points differential - +54
def Kyneton 189-76
def Maryborough 87-76
def Gisborne 127-123
def South Bendigo 132-114
def Golden Square 127-97
def Kangaroo Flat 147-50
def Castlemaine 169-87
def Sandhurst 136-62
def Kyneton 207-33
def Maryborough 128-61
lt Gisborne 83-157
lt South Bendigo 90-92
def Golden Square 149-78
def Kangaroo Flat 166-98
def Castlemaine 85-22
def Sandhurst 196-39
def Gisborne 119-95
def Golden Square 95-89
SUMMARY - After breaking a 25-year premiership drought in 2007, Eaglehawk took its game to another level in 2008 as the Hawks made it back-to-back flags.
The Hawks won 16 of their 18 games in 2008, with the season culminating in a classic grand final encounter when they were pushed to the limit by underdog Golden Square, which had gallantly fought its way through to the decider from the elimination final.
Eaglehawk trailed by 10 points at three quarter-time, but kicked five goals to two in the final term to fight its way to a 14.11 (95) to 12.17 (89) victory - Matt Gretgrix's eighth goal of the day proving the match-winner.
Earlier in the season there was certainly no premiership hangover for the Hawks, who jumped out of the blocks superbly, winning their first 10 games by an average of 67 points.
That was followed though by back-to-back losses in rounds 11 and 12 - a 74-point hiding off Gisborne at Gardiner Reserve and a two-point defeat to South Bendigo that prompted coach Derrick Filo to label his side "soft and scared".
The response to Filo's spray was emphatic - the Hawks came out the following week and crushed Golden Square by 71 points and two months later they were premiers.
Of the Hawks' 16 wins, 10 were by more than 60 points - the biggest being the 174 points they trounced Kyneton by in round nine.
Star forwards Gretgrix (68) and captain Brady Herdman (53) both topped the 50-goal mark for the season, while gun midfielder Shannon Milward polled 23 votes, including six best-on-grounds, to win the Michelsen Medal.
Team-mate Kain Robins, who won the Michelsen two years earlier, finished third with 20 votes.
Tim Hill, Robins, Damien Lock, Herdman, Milward and Gretgrix all made the Addy's Team of the Year.
THE TEAM - Derrick Filo, Matt Gretgrix, Brady Herdman, Brad Rogerson, Kain Robins, Ryan Threlfall, Luke Milroy, Shannon Milward, Marty O'Reilly, Luke Button, Julian Lockwood, Gareth Crawford, Luke Hartley, Tim Hill, Cameron Milward, Tim Nicolson, Damien Lock, Josh Ketterer, Jesse Tilburn, Rhys Healey, Corey Gregg.
SIGN UP FOR BEST ON GROUND, THE AFL NEWSLETTER YOU CAN'T MISS: Straight into your mailbox every Thursday before the first bounce
43 - ELMORE 2007
Coach - Tony Southcombe
Record - 16-2
Percentage - 191.5%
Average for - 142
Average against - 74
Points differential - +68
lt Heathcote 63-65
def Broadford 123-73
def White Hills 187-113
def Huntly 200-17
def Mount Pleasant 94-89
def North Bendigo 150-41
lt Colbinabbin 113-118
def LBU 126-34
def Heathcote 136-57
def Broadford 96-95
def White Hills 133-78
def Huntly 259-51
def Mount Pleasant 117-100
def North Bendigo 159-73
def Colbinabbin 93-64
def LBU 190-58
def Colbinabbin 129-121
def Colbinabbin 185-86
SUMMARY - Grand final victories don't come much more ruthless than what Elmore delivered to Colbinabbin to put the exclamation mark on its 2007 Heathcote District league season.
The Bloods were at their awesome best on grand final day - particularly in the second half - thrashing Colbinabbin by 99 points at Toolleen to capture the club's first flag since 1985.
Elmore's grand final tally of 26.29 (185) was one of seven scores of 150-plus the Bloods kicked throughout 2007 in what was a side on a mission after losing the grand final to Mount Pleasant the previous year.
"We were fairly fortunate that year to pick up three or four really good recruits who were not only good players, but they were good people too," coach Tony Southcombe recalled this week.
"Ian Kaye came to the club and he was just a freak of a player who just knew how to get the footy; Andy Grant was our captain who had been starved of a premiership and was a very good leader; and one of the best young players I've ever coached who was an inspiration on the training track was Brian Westley, who was just a coach's dream.
"And we were able to recruit Rick Smith, who had played senior footy in the Hampden league. He was very quick and played out on a wing, so he was a great pick-up as well."
The Bloods lost their first game of the 2007 season to Heathcote by two points and were 5-2 after seven games before winning their next 11 matches by an average of 73 points.
Among that 11-game winning streak was the round 13 demolition when the Bloods kicked 41.13 (259) in a 208-point win over Huntly - the match in which Elmore forward Ryan Hayes equaled the league's goalkicking record by slotting 26.
Skipper Andy Grant won the Cheatley Medal with 28 votes and Hayes took out the league goalkicking with 110 in what was a year to savour for the Bloods.
THE TEAM - Danny Childs, Justin Schubert, Brian Westley, Jacob Smythe, Adam Williams, Rob Lecek, Andy Grant, Rick Smith, Brad Mundie, Nick Manley, Adam Rout, David Fevaleaki, Ryan Hayes, Brenton Hall, Bill Longford, Ian Kaye, Cameron Cail, Matt Carboon, Leon Carter, Rex Bennett, Matt Cook.
THE LIST SO FAR:
NO. 46 & 45 - Mount Pleasant 1990, Newbridge 2018
NO. 48 & 47 - Gisborne 2006, Calivil United 1990
NO. 50 & 49 - Calivil United 2003, Eaglehawk 2018
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Bendigo Advertiser, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thankyou very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Bendigo's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.