Ballarat Football Netball League products Bailey Van De Heuvel, Cooper Craig-Peters and Lachy Dawson have ended their 2021 campaigns with some recognition for their efforts.
On the same day the BFNL season was cancelled, the VFL called its men's season off, Footscray being awarded the minor premiership after finishing on top of the ladder.
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All three were a part of the Bulldogs' squad for season 2021 and unlike many players around Victoria at the moment, can take some happiness from the season knowing they were the best regular season side.
Van De Heuvel played a strong role in the side's 10-0 record, playing six games, averaging 10.3 disposals, 5.5 marks and kicking two goals while playing primarily as a key defender.
He told The Courier it was a disappointing day watching his first VFL season end.
"The boys were ready to go and really excited to play but just wasn't meant to be," he said.
He added the exposure to VFL level was great for his development.
"It was awesome. It's such a good learning experience, all the coaches and that down there," he said.
"Even getting to play with AFL players like Hayden Crozier and Buku (Khamis) in the backline, it's just another level above Ballarat footy I guess."
Watching his first crack at BFNL finals be taken away on the same day was a double-blow.
"It was disappointing," he said.
"My first senior year was 2015 and that was the year after the grand final that they made.
"Haven't been anywhere near finals for that long and then for the one year that we were going to have a crack at it for it to get called off was a bit annoying."
Redan's Craig-Peters managed one game for the season.
He featured in Footscray's 37-point win over Casey Demons in round 16 where he picked up eight disposals and kicked a goal.
The year was a dominant one for the Bulldogs for the most part but included some nervous moments.
The side came from five goals down at three-quarter time against Sydney in round 13 to win by seven points.
The Bulldogs played three top eight sides throughout the year; Geelong (fourth), Casey (fifth) and GWS (eighth), enjoying strong performances against them.
They won by an average margin of 47.33 points in those three contests, led by a 72-point win over GWS.
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