Daylesford and Waubra will battle for the inaugural Bernie Jurcan Cup in round three of the Central Highlands Football League as one of the competition’s first steps to remember the Daylesford icon.
Former Bulldogs president Jurcan tragically passed away in January aged just 35, triggering a flood of emotion from the football world as well as the Daylesford community at large.
Jurcan was also a well-known identity in the hospitality industry through his role as the owner of Istra Smallgoods.
Daylesford president Guy McLeod said the idea for a memorial game was driven by Jurcan’s wife Ruth and was quickly taken up by both clubs.
“Bernie had a long association with Waubra as a club out in the Pyrenees from when they were probably struggling a little bit,” McLeod said. “He was good enough to sponsor them (through Istra) as well as being our principle sponsor and he had a lot of close mates there from when he was playing football.”
Club champion Joel Adams was among those who played with Jurcan through both the Ballarat Football League era and the entry to the CHFL in 2006 and was also Jurcan’s brother-in-law.
The pair were both part of the club’s senior premiership side in 2007.
Adams said the trophy emphasised how widely respected and influential Jurcan was within the football community.
“When you get a cup named after you it's a real honour and it goes to show that a lot of people thought a lot of good things of you,” Adams said. “From both clubs you can play for a lot of different of things but there’s always a bit more feeling when a cup is on the line.”
Former Waubra president Chris Bourke took over the top job at the Roos at a similar time to Jurcan’s appointment at Daylesford. The pair went on to form a close working relationship and friendship as two of the league’s youngest presidents.
“It was good to be able to bounce things off each other and while there was a real rivalry on the field we became good mates,” Bourke said of his relationship with Jurcan. “The two footy clubs have had a great rivalry over the past 10 years so it’s fitting that his name will be on that cup.”
Bourke said he hoped everyone involved with both clubs would make an effort to attend the match in a show of support for Jurcan’s family.
McLeod said while the players were holding up well heading into the season opener on April 1, the fixture would be a fitting way to remember a club great.
The round three clash will take place at Victoria Park on April 22.