Southcombe, Square teammates in car crash: grand final day

By Richard Jones

It was around lunchtime on grand final day in 1975 when news filtered through to the QEO about a serious car crash 15 kilometres from Bendigo.

Golden Square captain-coach Tony ‘Bluey’ Southcombe and two prominent teammates in John Kaladis and Neil Cordy were involved in a massive two-car collision.

Southcombe’s car was almost a complete write-off but fortunately for the Wade Street Dogs the playing trio escaped broken bones or lacerations.

They were badly shaken but had no injuries.

So where did the accident happen? Well, it wasn’t that far out of Bendigo on the road before Big Hill and near the old Black Stump roadhouse and garage on the Calder Highway.

As news filtered through to the QEO --- remember, this was in the days before mobile phones and text messaging --- Square supporters breathed huge sighs of relief.

The common thread which ran through most conversations was: “We can’t beat Sandhurst without those three.”

Nonetheless it showed to Bulldog followers and the footy public at large how close it came to a whole year’s work evaporating by midday on grand final afternoon.

The Maroons started the game full of running and led at the first break.

But the Square fought back hard in the second quarter, adding six goals to none, with ‘Bluey’ finally shaking off the after-effects of the crash.

They led by four goals at the main break before the Maroons again, looking slightly more poised, narrowed the gap by the last break.

Golden Square’s lead was just 10 points at the final change of ends.

Bulldogs’ centre half-forward Peter Hinck turned in an unforgettable final term.

Hinck demoralised the Hurst defence with his high marking power while his two flankers alongside him --- a recovered Kaladis and Audley --- also tore the Hurst defence to shreds.

Southcombe and Kaladis kicked five goals between them on the day. Hinck was named best afield.

Unfortunately for the Maroons frustration turned into mid-term fisticuffs and silly off-the-ball incidents, three of which resulted in last quarter Square majors from free kicks.

At the other end of the QEO captain-coach the late Ron Best did his bit to keep the Hurst in touch. He booted five goals on the day.

Southcombe succumbed to Carlton’s constant urging and signed up for the 1976 season, travelling to Kardinia Park for his opening VFL outing against Geelong.

He kicked his very first VFL career goal early on and the Blues went on to thrash the 1975 VFL finalist Cats by a massive 78 points.


Final scores, 1975 BFL grand final : Golden Square 14.13 (97) def. Sandhurst 12.14 (86).

It was the 7th flag in Golden Square’s current tally of 17 senior BFNL premierships.

Sadly the Square’s two most prominent ’75 off-field leaders in George Symons (president) and Ian Phillips (secretary) passed away some years ago.


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