Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird marks 150th game for Golden Square
by Nathan Dole
GUN midfielder Adam ‘Skinny’ Baird will play his 150th senior match for Golden Square in this Saturday’s 15th round of the Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League season.
Baird and his Bulldogs’ team-mates face a huge challenge on Eaglehawk’s turf at Canterbury Park.
The fourth-placed Bulldogs will be desperate to beat the Hawks, third, and hold the double chance at finals time.
A four-time premiership player, Baird is renowned for starring in big matches, whether it be for the blue and gold of Golden Square or Bendigo FNL, or the Big V of Victoria Country.
“It’s a massive game for both clubs,” Baird said of Saturday’s clash in the Borough.
In round six, the Bernie Haberman-coached Golden Square scored a 10-point win against Eaglehawk at Fur Life Vet Oval in Wade Street.
“Two of our best wins this season were at home against Eaglehawk and Gisborne,” Baird said.
“Our effort against Gisborne was more of a complete four-quarter performance.”
Baird believes the midfield duels will be a key to beating the Two Blues again.
“Getting our hands on the ball first, being as direct as we can be to the big key forwards will be really important.”
The Bulldogs’ attack include Adam’s older brother, Travis.
“It’s great to have him back and playing well. Travis has such a presence on the field, lifts everyone around him, and is a fierce competitor.”
It’s in the midfield where Adam Baird, aka ‘Skinny’, teams up with the likes of Jack Geary, Liam Barrett, Hamish Morcom, Dale Lowry, and ruckman Matt Compston.
Last season Geary and Adam Baird achieved a one-two result in the Michelsen Medal, the BFNL’s coveted fairest and best award.
“Jack is a hard running machine and is so tough at the contest,” Baird said.
Baird said missing the finals, the first time in his stint at Golden Square, was a driving force across summer and the season so far.
Recruits such as Liam Barrett and the continued development of many younger players were keys in Square being back in the league’s top bracket.
At age 29, Baird is a leader, on and off the field.
“There’s always areas to work on, but leadership is a challenge I have taken on a lot more this year.
“Being able to help younger team-mates develop their game is important.
“I have always talked on-field, but am doing more off-field with team-mates than I used to.”
Baird said there had been a lot of influences throughout his football career, either at Donald where he started, Golden Square, or Labrador.
“Mark Adamson was my first senior coach at Golden Square in 2008 and ’09 and had a lot of belief in me.”
After his senior debut at Maryborough’s Princes Park late in the 2008 season, Baird would go on to play every final.
Runners-up to Eaglehawk by a goal in the 2008 senior grand final, Golden Square won the Bendigo Advertiser premiership cup the next five years.
Baird was a key player in the grand final wins of ’09 and ’10 against South Bendigo, the 168-33 victory against Eaglehawk in 2011, and the three-point thriller against Gisborne a year later.
The Bulldogs’ best three in the 2012 premiership triumph were Simon Rosa and the Baird brothers, Adam and Travis.
In 2013, Adam went back to play for Donald in the North Central Football League.
“There have been a lot of brilliant team-mates over the years,” he said of his time at Golden Square.
“Simon Rosa was an inspiration and the type of player I wanted to be.”
Since he first played with the Bulldogs’ under-18s in 2007, Baird has gone on to achieve a lot of success.
He could have joined any club when his parents bought a motel and moved to Bendigo all those years ago.
“Chris Malone was from Donald and playing at Golden Square. He was the main reason I joined the club.
“He had called me ‘Skinny’ from a young age in Donald, and now most people call me that instead of Adam.”
From a tally of eight senior grand finals, six at Golden Square and two with Labrador in Queensland, Baird has a win-loss record of 4-2 as a Bulldog and 1-1 as a Tiger.
A regular for Bendigo in the AFL Victoria Community Challenge matches, Baird earned the Derrick Filo Medal as the team’s best in 2018.
He has represented Victoria Country in its past two challenges against the Victorian Amateurs.
Best afield in 2018, Baird was captain of the victorious team which was coached by St Kilda great Danny Frawley a few weeks ago.
Frawley has kicked in to support Julie Baird at this Saturday night’s MND Fundraiser in the Exhibition Centre at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds in Bendigo.
“Mum was part of the Neale Daniher Drive last year for her friend Les and will be again this October,” Adam Baird said.
Guest speakers at this Saturday’s event for Les & Jules’ Crew are Western Bulldogs legend Doug Hawkins, Saints’ champion Danny Frawley, and Collingwood star Dayne Beams.
Tickets are $50 and available at Maiden Gully Café, or on the night.
Doors at the Exhibition Centre in Holmes Road, North Bendigo open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.
The Neale Daniher Drive is on from October 10 to 13 and plays a significant role in raising funds for treatment and ultimately research into a cure for Motor Neurone Disease.