HAVING made the decision to retire, it’s all or nothing today for North Bendigo favourite son Rob Bennett when he chases his premiership dream.

After almost 250 senior games and about 130 junior games with his beloved Bulldogs, Bennett will pull on the blue, white and red jumper for the last time when North Bendigo takes on Lockington-Bamawm United in the Heathcote District Football League grand final at Huntly.

Bennett first played with the Bulldogs as a five-year-old and made his senior debut in 1993 when the club was still in the Bendigo Football League.

Yesterday at the QEO when he had the chance to hold the premiership cup for a photo shoot with the Bendigo Advertiser, it was plain to see just how much a long-awaited grand final win today would mean to Bennett and North Bendigo.

“I didn’t want to let it go and hopefully, after tomorrow’s game I can be holding that cup again,” Bennett said.

So long has it been since North Bendigo won a senior premiership, of the 22 players who will line up for the club today, Bennett was the only player born when the Bulldogs won the 1977 Golden City Football League grand final.

He’s also the only player left from the last North Bendigo team to play in a grand final.

That was 1998 when the Bulldogs lost to Colbinabbin by 58 points.

As part of the build-up to today’s game, the Bulldog players were addressed by North Bendigo club stalwart John Pysing and 1977 premiership coach John Plim on Thursday night.

“The Pysing family has been involved with North Bendigo for years and John spoke about the first flag they won in 1966 and the emotion in the rooms after the game with the tears among all the supporters,” Bennett said.

“To be honest, that’s what I’m probably looking forward to the most tomorrow if we can win.”

FAVOURITE SON: North Bendigo’s Rob Bennett eyes the premiersip cup on the eve of today’s Heathcote District Football League grand final against Lockington-Bamawm United. Picture: PETER WEAVING

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