Tuesday’s encounter against FC Bendigo will be a night of firsts for the town as an A-League side visits one of regional Victoria’s largest centres.
Who are FC Bendigo?
FC Bendigo is a new entity that was formed in light of Football Federation Victoria’s move to introduce the National Premier Leagues throughout the state. Created at the start of 2014, FC Bendigo is linked closely with the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League (BASL) and allows players from the area to compete against Victoria’s best clubs.
The club’s logo – which features a dragon – is a nod towards not only the strong relationship with BASL, but the connection Bendigo has had with the Chinese over its long history. The side wears a predominantly yellow kit but the yellow and blue combination is a Bendigo sporting tradition, seen in both the colours of the local Australian rules and cricket sides.
The season so far
The club has struggled in NPL1 this season with the team brought together in Feburary. FC Bendigo looked to have finally gelled towards the midpoint of 2014 however a horror run of form has seen them go winless in eight matches. They currently sit 12th on 19 points alongside Whittlesea Rangers and above bottom placed Brunswick City.
Steve Martin is FC Bendigo’s Head Coach who coincidently is also their centre-back. The player-coach lined up for fellow NPL1 side Sunshine George Cross last year and joined his current side with the exciting prospect of developing a team in the region. Franz Weimper – who is also Miron Blieberg’s right-hand man at Oakleigh Cannons – supports Martin, taking charge from the bench.
FC Bendigo boasts a list that includes a current international. Striker George Slefendorfas has represented the Papa New Guinea national team and has had stints domestically in New Zealand and Queensland. The international flavour does not stop there with Spaniard Vitaka Rodriguez and Englishman Matthew Breeze lining up for Bendigo. The latter has arguably been the side’s stand out this season and could prove to be a test for the Melbourne City FC defence.
With the range of internationals at their disposal, the club also features an abundance of local talent including hometown hero Trent Waterson. Waterson has played at the top level in Victoria for a number of years now and the chance to represent his home town was a prospect the midfielder couldn’t refuse. Former goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei and former youth player Alon Blumgart play for FC Bendigo as well, ensuring the central Victorian side will prove to be a worthy opponent.
FC Bendigo Highlights
Tuesday 2 September 2014
FC Bendigo vs. Melbourne City FC
Epsom Huntly Reserve
Children and Concession: $5
Under 5 and Members: FREE