THEIR inaugural tussle last year was a thriller that went down to the wire and now Golden Square and Sandhurst are preparing for game two in their new tradition - the Ron Best Memorial Shield.
The shield honours the former champion goalkicker of the Bendigo Football-Netball League, Ron Best, who had a significant impact at both the Bulldogs and Dragons, as well as Northern United.
No player in the league's storied history has kicked more goals than Best's 1624 and, fittingly, the league's goalkicking medal is named in his honour.
Best died in October, 2020, but both the honour of the Ron Best Medal for the top goalkicker each year and now the Ron Best Memorial Shield match between the Dragons and Bulldogs will ensure his BFNL legacy long lives on.
Among those who will be at Wade Street on Saturday for the match will be Best's great friend and former brother-in-law Tony Southcombe, who won flags with the champion goalkicker at both Golden Square and Northern United.
"I think it's a real tribute to Ron to have the two clubs come together for this match in his honour," Southcombe said this week.
"Through my time involved in footy Ron is certainly in the top three players that I've seen.
"He had outstanding attributes in regards to what he could do on the football field... his strength in a marking contest and his ability to direct traffic in the forward line in terms of instructing players where to run and what to do was certainly very beneficial.
"His leadership on the ground was outstanding."
Best was the BFNL's leading goalkicker 10 times in his illustrious career - 1969, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1983 - and is officially recognised as a legend of the league.
Best famously debuted for Golden Square in round four of 1968 and kicked 14 goals as an 18-year-old.
Sixteen years later in 1984 Best bowed out of football with a stunning last hurrah when he kicked 11 goals for Northern United in the Swallows' grand final win over Eaglehawk.
Best's 14 and 11-goal bags in his first and last games were among 48 times he kicked at least 10 goals in the BFNL - 29 for Golden Square, 12 for Sandhurst and seven for Northern United.
"When you played with Ron Best you knew every time you ran out onto the ground you already had six goals on the board; and when you played against him you knew you were starting six goals behind," Southcombe said.
"That's probably the best way to sum up the impact he had... there will only ever be one Ron Best."
Sandhurst won last year's inaugural Ron Best Memorial Shield match by two points.
Golden Square heads into Saturday's tussle 4-0 and one of three teams - along with Gisborne and Strathfieldsaye - yet to be beaten, while the Dragons are 1-3.
And as for the medal named in Ron Best's honour, it's a Golden Square player leading the way after four rounds with the classy Joel Brett in front on 24 goals.
RON BEST MEDAL:
24 - Joel Brett (GS)
20 - Lachlan Sharp (Strath)
19 - Pat McKenna (Gis)
18 - Rhys Magin (Kyn)
18 - Jayden Burke (GS)
14 - Josh Kemp (Gis)
13 - Brock Harvey (SB)
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