THE Bendigo Gold’s list for the 2013 VFL season continues to take shape with five more signings, including two of last year’s Bendigo Pioneers.
Former Pioneers Che Walls and Jess Collins join Lalbert’s Ricky Thompson and Montmorency’s James Brooker in committing to the Gold, while Rochester’s Nathan McCarty has re-signed after playing two games last year.
Walls got a taste of VFL last year, playing against the Northern Blues as a 23rd player, while he was also a member of Golden Square’s Bendigo Football League premiership team.
Collins was also a premiership player in 2012, playing in Lockington-Bamawm United’s Heathcote District Football League flag.
“Both Che and Jess have done well over the pre-season,” Gold coach Aussie Jones said yesterday.
“We played a minor intra-club match on our last night of training before Christmas and if Che wasn’t best on, he was very close to it. He was unbelievable in that intra-club match... he went from being a very talented kid to one that we wanted on our list after that match.
“And Jess was the same. He’s a slighter build than Che, but he’s hitting the weights. He’s a six-foot-two half-forward or half-back who will start up at Lockington and play with us when it fits.”
Thompson joins the Gold after winning Central Murray Football League club Lalbert’s best and fairest last year.
“He’s six-foot-three, about 94kgs and is in one of our top running groups,” Jones said.
“He’s similar to another of our recruits, Tom Cain, in that he’s a big, strong brute of a lad.
“He’s going to be the type of player where at times there will be a match-up for him in our back six, while other times he will probably get a defensive role on the taller midfielders who come back from the AFL.
“With his body size, not only will he be able to compete and run, but protect a few of our blokes in the middle as well.”
Brooker is a 20-year-old wingman, half-forward who has previously played with the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup.
“He has been out of the TAC Cup system for a couple of years, but he had a very good crack with the Northern Knights,” Jones said.
“He then went back and played with a few mates at Montmorency and has played some really good football there.
“He’s a quick running type who will float around the flanks and the wing and at this stage would be very close to our best 22, so he’s another handy addition for us.”
The Gold will play their first practice match on March 15 against Essendon at either Windy Hill or the Bombers new home base at Tullamarine.
The Gold and Bombers will also lock horns in the opening round of the season at the Queen Elizabeth Oval under lights on Friday, April 5.