Gisborne entered the Bendigo Football League in 2000 making it the competition’s second most recent addition, after Strathfieldsaye (2009). After performing indifferently at first, the seniors developed into the leading side in the league, claiming four premierships in seven seasons. The Bulldogs’ opponents in their victorious grand finals were Golden Square, whom they trounced by 79 points in 2002, Eaglehawk, whom they defeated by 47 points the following year, Eaglehawk again in 2005, this time by a margin of 31 points, and Golden Square in 2006, against whom they emerged triumphant by 25 points. In addition, Gisborne were losing grand finalists against Sandhurst in 2004, and Eaglehawk, by a bare 2 points, in 2007.
Over the past decade the Bulldogs have continued to perform consistently strongly. They reached another grand final in 2012, when they lost by just 3 points to Golden Square, and they have continued to qualify for the finals on a fairly regular basis, finishing fourth in 2013, third in 2014, fifth in 2018 and third in 2029.
Prior to affiliating with the BdFL the Bulldogs had spent the preceding eight decades as members of the Riddell District Football Association (later League) in which they enjoyed senior grade premiership success on ten occasions, including a noteworthy hat-trick of wins in their final three seasons.
The RDFA supplanted a pre-world war one competition, the Gisborne District Football Association. Gisborne is known to have participated in this competition, but details of its performances are sketchy.
John Devaney - Full Points Publications