WHEN the whistle sounds to start the Wide Bay AFL senior game between Brothers Bulldogs and Bay Power tomorrow the players on the ground will have more spectators then usual cheering them on.
In the crowd will be men from the 1985 and 1995 grand final-winning teams and the pressure is on to perform in front of ex-players who have done their best for the club.
Neil Hempseed (pictured right, far left of the centre row) led the 1985 team to victory against Norths, the first in a run of three straight premierships, and he said he was looking forward to watching the current-day Bulldogs put on a show.
Times have changed since Hempseed was Bulldogs captain-coach and after moving from South Brisbane after the 1984 season he quickly learned what the club was about.
"Back then it was all about mateship and camaraderie. Win or lose we'd sit in the sheds after the game having a beer and the wives and girlfriends would be waiting outside," Hempseed said.
"The social part of footy is different now but the club is still a good place to be."
Along with the post-game activities in the 1980s, the way players were motivated to perform is also different.
Hempseed said the then club president, Sonny Hess, came to him before the grand final in 1985 with a request that might not be heard now.
"Sonny wanted to put a bet on the game but the Norths president said he would only bet if his team got a 100-point head start," he said.
"He got his start and we won by over 100 and then we didn't buy a drink for two days."
The Bulldogs haven't won a flag since 2000 and whether they will challenge cross-town rival Across The Waves might be discovered against Bay Power tomorrow.
In the round's other senior game, Across The Waves travel to Hervey Bay to play the Bombers. After a slow start to the season Hervey Bay has recruited some players but Eagles should be too good.