From Bendigo Advertiser
Reported by Travis King
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THE Bendigo Gold's coffers should be boosted by a dream home draw for the 2014 Victorian Football League season.
The Gold will play many AFL clubs' VFL teams in Bendigo next season.
Bumper night games against Essendon on Good Friday and the Footscray Bulldogs on Anzac Day are highlights.
Bendigo will kick-off its season underlights at the QEO on Friday, April 4 against Geelong.
The match will be a measuring stick for the Gold's pre-season improvement under second-year coach Aussie Jones.
Bendigo went win-less last season and was thumped by the Cats by 201 points in the final round.
"We're taking that as a positive," Gold chairman Tim Dickson said of the round one match. "We need to show improvement."
The Gold will play round three and four at the QEO against the Bombers and Bulldogs, before a potential 'home' clash against North Ballarat in a regional town in late May.
Bendigo could also play the Carlton-aligned Northern Blues at a regional centre in June.
AFL Victoria has paid the Gold a big free-kick by sending Casey Scorpions, Melbourne's affiliate, to the QEO on July 12 - a weekend when the Bendigo Football Netball League has no matches.
The Gold will then host Richmond's new VFL team underlights on Saturday, August 9.
And the biggest club in the country, Collingwood, will venture back to Bendigo for a final round clash on Friday, August 22.
"It's a pretty good draw," Dickson said.
"One of the points we've made all along is that we want to bring quality football to the QEO and we're doing that."
While the fixture should help bring spectators through the gates, it could mean a tougher proposition on-field.
The Gold only plays other standalone teams Coburg and Frankston once next season.
Bendigo's home games are set, apart from the venues of the Northern Blues and North Ballarat matches, but the full VFL fixture is yet to be finalised.
Gold's home games (at QEO unless otherwise stated):
Geelong (April 4), Essendon (April 18), Footscray (April 25), North Ballarat (May 24 venue TBC), Coburg (June 8), Northern Blues (June 22 venue TBC), Casey (July 12), Richmond (August 9), Collingwood (August 22).