BENDIGO Suns footballers have relished a rare and unique opportunity to grace the hallowed Queen Elizabeth Oval turf.
The city's FIDA football teams marked their first appearance on the spiritual home of Bendigo football with a pair of wins over Kyneton and Rupertswood on Sunday.
In the opening game of a FIDA Central Victoria double-header, Bendigo Suns Red defeated Kyneton 103 to 36, while Bendigo Suns White kept its unbeaten record intact with a 70 to 11 win against Rupertswood.
But the results paled in significance to the fun and camaraderie enjoyed by all participating players, with the friendship and great sportsmanship on show a true delight.
Bendigo Suns media manager Jedd Manton said players from all four teams had enjoyed the day in what was round three of the season.
"It was obviously a bit cold, but we were pretty lucky the rain held off for the majority of the day and there was a big crowd there too," he said.
"It was nice to see the Bendigo community come down and support both the Suns' teams.
"The players loved it and really appreciated the cheers and support they received."
Manton, who lined up in the forward line for the victorious Bendigo White team, said the chance to play on the QEO was a massive thrill for everyone.
"The players really enjoyed their opportunity - it's the Holy Grail of football in Bendigo, our MCG," he said.
"It was good fun, all the teams enjoyed the experience.
"The players really enjoyed themselves. There were a few injuries, but hopefully nothing too bad.
"But most of all it was a successful day with a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people."
The season will continue this Sunday with two matches in Kyneton.
Bendigo White will play Kyneton and Bendigo Red will play Rupertswood.
A win apiece to the Bendigo teams last Sunday has both on track to qualify for this season's grand final, which will be played in August at Weeroona Oval in Bendigo.
But regardless of which two teams qualify, a premiership showdown is sure to bring plenty of excitement and relief after last year's grand final was postponed and eventually cancelled due to snap COVID lockdowns.
The FIDA competition aims to provide Victorians with an intellectual disability the opportunity to participate in Australian Rules at a competitive level.
It is open to both male and female players aged 14 and above, with the Suns boasting two players in their 60s.
Manton said the Suns had 43 players in total on its roster, with female numbers up on last season.
READ MORE: Suns to grace hallowed Bendigo turf
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