Matt “Bear” Thornton marks 200th senior match for Dragons
by Nathan Dole
SANDHURST has extra incentive to win this Saturday’s clash with Golden Square as key position star Matt “Bear” Thornton marks his 200th senior match for the Dragons.
Renowned for his strong marking, Thornton has played an integral role for the club at centre half-back or centre half-forward.
His ability to switch from defence to attack or the other way, and also play in the ruck if needed, is a huge plus for the Dragons.
Thornton is likely to start at centre half-forward, or perhaps closer to goal, when Sandhurst tackles Golden Square at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
The showdown between the fierce rivals is one of several highlights in the seventh round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
Thornton has kicked at least one goal in all six matches in the 2019 campaign.
He warmed up for game 200 by kicking five in last Saturday’s victory at Castlemaine.
The major highlight of Matt Thornton’s career was the senior premiership victory against Golden Square in 2016.
The Wayne Primmer-coached Dragons beat the Bulldogs by 32 points.
Several of Thornton’s premiership-winning team-mates such as Blair Holmes, Adam Parry, Nick Stagg, Alex and Joel Wharton are still starring for the club.
The grand final victory in 2016 followed being runner-up the previous two seasons to Strathfieldsaye Storm.
Thornton’s time with Sandhurst started in 2007 when he was recruited from Numurkah.
His older brother Rob had played in the Dragons’ senior premiership team of 2004.
Most of Matt Thornton’s first season at the club was in the under-18s, but he also played his first senior game, a 12-goal win for the Nathan Gilliland-coached Dragons against Maryborough at the QEO.
Thornton played four senior matches in 2007 and was a key player in the under-18 finals campaign.
Other career highs include representing the Bendigo FNL in several country championship campaigns, and also playing for Victoria Country against the Victorian Amateur Football Association in 2017.
The 200-game milestone puts Thornton among an elite group at Sandhurst FNC and in the Bendigo Football Netball League.