THE LIST SO FAR
No. 28 & 27 - Gisborne 2002; Colbinabbin 1991
No. 30 & 29 - Maryborough 1998; Gisborne 2005
No. 32 & 31 - South Bendigo 1994; Golden Square 2009
No. 34 & 33 - Castlemaine 1992; South Bendigo 1990
No. 36 & 35 - Mitiamo 1999; Sandhurst 2016
No. 38 & 37 - North Bendigo 2019; Leitchville-Gunbower 2018
No. 40 & 39 - Bridgewater 1991; Calivil United 2017
No. 42 & 41 - Heathcote 1992, Sandhurst 2004
No. 44 & 43 - Eaglehawk 2008, Elmore 2007
No. 46 & 45 - Mount Pleasant 1990, Newbridge 2018
No. 48 & 47 - Gisborne 2006, Calivil United 1990
No. 50 & 49 - Calivil United 2003, Eaglehawk 2018
WE reach the halfway mark of our series on the top 50 most dominant premiership seasons across the Bendigo, Heathcote District and Loddon Valley leagues since 1990 with numbers 26 and 25 today.
26 - GISBORNE 2003
Coach - Mick McGuane
Record - 17-1
Percentage - 194.9%
Average for - 134
Average against - 69
Points differential - +65
def Castlemaine 171-76
def Sandhurst 110-40
def Golden Square 163-88
def Kangaroo Flat 237-52
def Kyneton 111-67
def South Bendigo 108-95
def Maryborough 137-41
def Eaglehawk 90-62
def Castlemaine 116-67
def Golden Square 178-79
def Kangaroo Flat 169-54
def Kyneton 107-89
def South Bendigo 198-65
def Maryborough 102-55
def Eaglehawk 90-47
def Eaglehawk 117-95
def Eaglehawk 120-73
SUMMARY - Just as Gisborne had done in its 2002 premiership season that features at No.28, the Bulldogs again breezed through the Bendigo league in 2003 winning 17 of 18 games.
Although, the 2003 version of the Bulldogs have the higher ranking based off their slightly superior percentage of 194.9 compared to 2002's 192.9.
The reigning premiers under master coach Mick McGuane wasted no time again asserting their authority on the competition, beating Castlemaine by 95 points, Sandhurst by 70, Golden Square by 75 in the grand final re-match and Kangaroo Flat by 185 in their first month of 2003.
While there was no Aaron James in the team of 2003 after his move to Doutta Stars, the Bulldogs replaced him with another ex-AFL forward in Damian Houlihan, who formed another imposing duo with Steven Reaper.
But opposition defences also had to concern themselves with the likes of Luke Saunders - who considers 2003 the best Gisborne side he played in - Michael Dillon, Darren Farrugia and Shane Davis.
"Houlihan and Reaper worked well together because they both had really good footy IQ. As much as they both loved taking the responsibility of being the goalkicker, they shared each other's space well," McGuane said this week.
The team featured three Michelsen medallists in Saunders, Matt Fitzgerald - who won it that year - and Simon Elsum, while Reaper won the Ron Best Medal with 86 goals and also booted six in the Bulldogs' 47-point win over Eaglehawk in the grand final.
"We trained with purpose and wanted to play a certain way that was hard and tough in the contest, which we were, and we made sure we got the fundamentals right," McGuane said.
THE TEAM - Chris Curcio, Michael Dillon, Marcus Barham, Darren Farrugia, Shane Davis, Stewart Hamilton, Matt Fitzgerald, Ben James, Ty Elliott, Ollie Messauoudi, Steven Reaper, Rick Watts, Damian Houlihan, Luke Saunders, Michael Stevens, Jason Allen, Simon Elsum, Lee McInerney, Eddie Barake, Rod Sharp, Matt Cannard.
25 - LBU 2013
Coach - Kahl Oliver
Record - 17-1
Percentage - 201.4%
Average for - 115
Average against - 57
Points differential - +58
def Leitchville-Gunbower 139-83
def Heathcote 123-52
def North Bendigo 103-52
def Colbinabbin 102-82
def White Hills 91-82
def Mount Pleasant 103-59
def Elmore 162-48
def Leitchville-Gunbower 119-61
def Heathcote 106-59
def Huntly 90-70
def North Bendigo 87-47
def Colbinabbin 77-28
def Mount Pleasant 154-18
def White Hills 144-30
def Elmore 178-31
def Huntly 94-76
def Huntly 103-45
SUMMARY - Season 2013 was the third year of LBU's flag four-peat in the Heathcote District league where the Cats won all but one of their 18 games.
Apart from an 11-point loss to Huntly in round three Kahl Oliver's Cats steamrolled their way through the season, winning their other 17 games by an average of 81 points.
Included in the Cats' year of brilliance was a three-game stretch to close out the home and away season when they posted consecutive triple-figure winning margins of 136 points against Mount Pleasant, 114 against White Hills and 147 against Elmore.
In those three games to tune up for the finals the Cats booted 72 goals to 12.
Two of the Cats' prime movers in Adrian Dohnt (No.2) and Jarrod Bacon (No.5) both featured in the top five in the Addy's season-ending player rankings.
Lachlan Collins topped the Cats' goalkicking with 54, but they shared the load well, with five other players kicking 20-plus - Bacon (46), Ryan Jensen (30), Dohnt (25), Chris Hudson (22) and Oliver (21).
Led by Daniel Lucas, Carl Treacy, co-captain Nathan O'Brien and Simon Keleher, defensively, the Cats were a tough nut to crack, conceding just 57 points per game, while Huntly could manage only six goals in the grand final, which LBU won 15.13 (103) to 6.9 (45) at Elmore.
The Cats of 2013 boasted a near-perfect blend of youth and experience.
"Since I've been out there I've had John Halloran, Carl Treacy, Adrian Dohnt, Mick Dobson and those older types and they'e been fantastic," Oliver said in grand final week.
"Then to watch Jarrod Bacon turn into the footballer he has, plus there's Matt Bongiovanni and Lachlan Collins who are in that 24-25 bracket.
"And then you throw in the really young ones like Ryan Jensen and Joe and Sam Wolfe and it all blends into a handy side."
THE TEAM - Adrian Dohnt, Carl Treacy, Chris Hudson, Daniel Lucas, John Halloran, Kahl Oliver, Lachlan Collins, Leigh Deledio, Liam Main, Matt Bongiovanni, Mick Dobson, Nathan O'Brien, Ged Giddings, Hayden Collins, Jarrod Bacon, Marcus Angove, Nathan Bacon, Simon Keleher, Jesse Collins, Paul Hudson, Ryan Jensen, Trent Bacon.
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