Laughs aplenty at Pios' season launch

THE funny and serious side of footy was on the menu at Friday's launch of the Bendigo Bank Pioneers season.

Guest speakers Brian Taylor, Danny Frawley and Cameron Ling told some great tales about matches, team-mates and more.

The launch for the Pioneers 22nd year in the TAC Cup under-18s competition was held at Chasers Function Centre based at Lord's Raceway in Junortoun.

After celebrated playing careers, Taylor, Frawley and Ling have kicked on to be calling or analysing the game on television and radio.

Ling's last game in the TAC Cup for Geelong Falcons was in a seven-point loss in a final to the Bendigo Pioneers in 1998 at Carlton's Princes Park.

Then a full-forward with the Falcons, Ling went on to be an onballer in three AFL premiership victories with Geelong.

After plenty of banter with Frawley and Taylor, Ling had some advice for the parents of those playing with the David Newett-coached Pioneers this season.

"The important thing is to relax and enjoy the journey."

Ling said pressure was always there because of team and own expectations.

Recruited by Richmond from WA, Taylor later crossed to Collingwood Football Club.

He and Frawley clashed several times when the Magpies tackled St Kilda.

One of the most memorable tales at Friday's function was Taylor recalling the day he needed two goals to reach the century mark when the Pies played St Kilda in the final round of the 1986 season.

After hurting his groin on kicking his first goal in the opening quarter against Frawley, Taylor's hopes looked shot.

In the second term there were some dubious downfield frees awarded to Taylor.

His first shot went out on the full, but he goaled soon after on his way to winning the Coleman Medal as the-then VFL's leading goalkicker.

In 2014, Bendigo Bank continues as a major backer of the Pioneers as La Trobe University Bendigo works on strengthening its links with the club.

The Pioneers play Dandenong in Sunday's practice matches at Epsom-Huntly from 10.30am. 

An under-16s match will be followed by two under-18s games. 

Bendigo's first game in this year's TAC Cup under-18s competition is on March 29 at Shepparton's Deakin Reserve against Murray Bushrangers. 

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