Jury still out on 2009 Nilma-Darnum flag

Nilma-Darnum broke a 50 year premiership drought when they defeated Cora Lynn in 2009.

Nilma-Darnum broke a 50 year premiership drought when they defeated Cora Lynn in 2009.

The Gippsland football equivalent of the 1992 United States Olympic basketball ‘Dream Team’ all found themselves playing in the somewhat unusual location of Nilma-Darnum for the 2009 Ellinbank and District season.
With the injection of three time Brisbane Lions premiership player Mal Michael and a group of gun players from across Gippsland into the lineup, the Bombers side quickly became known as the 'All-Stars’ and took all before them to win that seasons senior premiership.
The win ended a 50 year premiership drought for Nilma-Darnum but was embroiled in debate, as many questioned the merits of the club essentially buying a premiership with a team of hired guns.
Whilst there are arguments for and against what Nilma-Darnum did, the story of how they managed to put everything together for one season and coerce so much talent to pull on the Bombers jumper is an interesting one to tell nonetheless.
At the end of 2006, just months after Nilma-Darnum had lost every game for the season by an average margin of 140 points, one can only imagine the enormity of the task that awaited Andrew Patterson when he stepped up to take on the presidency.
“When I took over the presidency the club was about ready to fold,” Patterson explained.
Coming from such a long way back, the Bombers sought gradual improvement in 2007 and saw further development in 2008.
In those two years the club was successful in landing a new coach in journeyman Brad Sinclair, as well as highly touted midfielder Alan Chandler, who kicked 42 goals in 2008.
Eager to continue on the upward trajectory, Nilma-Darnum then unashamedly went all out to give itself the best chance of taking out the 2009 premiership.
“We needed a premiership, we hadn't made finals in 14 years,” Patterson said.


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