Hall of Fame - Legend Inductee 2019 - Alan McDonald
South Bendigo FNC
By Richard Jones
Alan ‘The Fox’ McDonald retains a special place in South Bendigo and BFL history.
He stands as the Bloods’ greatest ever coach leading South to five premierships in seven years between 1950 and 1956.
After playing 49 games with Richmond in the VFL and two seasons with Camberwell in the VFA ‘The Fox’ joined the lowly Bloods and gradually built them into the BFL’s powerhouse.
A ruck-rover (a ‘mid’ in today’s footy jargon) Alan built South in his early seasons at the Upper Reserve until they were good enough to win the 1950 flag.
That success was followed by four more flags in 1951-54-55 and the prestigious Melbourne Olympic Games year of 1956.
That Olympic Games year premiership was a huge one for South. Sport was a top priority in Australians’ lives at that stage and there was ‘The Fox’ leading the Bloods to a 10-point win over Eaglehawk.
But looking back the 1950 flag ended a quarter-of-a-century drought for South Bendigo. They hadn’t won a BFL pennant since 1925.
Echuca was a tough, physical side and ‘The Fox’ had to carefully manage his players in a bruising grand final.
And after reaching the 200-game milestone with South in 1956 Alan returned to Richmond as senior coach for four years.
The Tigers weren’t any great shakes back in the late Fifties so Alan returned to South in 1961 and eventually led the Bloods as playing or non-playing coach for more than 250 games, finishing up in 1964.