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Golden Square’s stars of ’89 relive glory days

by Nathan Dole
THE stars from Golden Square Football Netball Club’s senior footy premiership team of 1989 will reunite at this Saturday’s clash between the Bulldogs and Maryborough.

A star-studded team of 30 years ago captured the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup when it defeated South Bendigo in the grand final by three goals.

A brilliant opening quarter by teenager Wayne Campbell, in which he kicked four goals from a wing, set the Dogs on their way to a 14.13 (97) to 11.13 (79) victory.

The Brian Walsh-coached Bulldogs earned back-to-back premierships for the fourth time in club history.

At just 17 and in his first season of senior football, Wayne Campbell played a big part in the blue and gold surging to a 35-point lead in the opening term.

Campbell earned the Nalder Medal for best afield after Golden Square withstood a spirited second half fightback by the Peter Bradbury-coached South Bendigo.

Another key player in Golden Square’s premiership success was Ray Byrne.

The “big time” experience he gained from four grand final apperances – 1973 with Carlton, and ’79, ’80 and ’81 with Collingwood – was a huge plus for the Dogs.

Byrne was assistant coach to Walsh in ’89.

They were team-mates when Carlton tackled Richmond in the VFL grand final in 1973.

Both would go on to have a dramatic impact at the Bendigo Pioneers Football Club in different eras.

Walsh was Pioneers coach from 1994 to ’99, and Byrne was the club’s regional manager from midway through 2000 until April in 2015.

It was at Richmond where Wayne Campbell would rack up 297 matches, be a four-time winner of the Jack Dyer Medal as club champion, be Tigers captain from 2001 to ’04, represent Victoria in 1998, and earn All-Australian selection twice.

These days, Campbell is general manager of football for the Greater Western Sydney Giants Football Club.

A great year for Golden Square in ’89 included premiership players Darren Harris, Paul McConville, Russell Parkes, Alan Paterson and Leigh Williams representing Bendigo in its run to being number one in the VCFL inter-league campaign.

The Bendigo line-up was coached by the late Neville Strauch, a legend of Golden Square Football Netball Club and member of the Bendigo FNL Hall of Fame.

This Saturday’s reunion of the ’89 team follows last weekend’s gathering of the Bulldogs’ senior premiership team of 2009.

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