Pioneers don't mind this shave

THEY are aiming for not too many close calls in this year's footy action, but the Bendigo Bank Pioneers don't mind a close shave off-field.

For the second year running the Pioneers squad chopped their locks as a fund-raiser for those fighting or affected by blood cancer.

The team from Hairem Scarem donated their skill and time to do the shaving at the club's training headquarters at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve.

A year ago the Pioneers kicked in to raise more than $22,000 through pledges across it's region throughout central and northern Victoria.

Pioneers coach David Newett said there was no hesitation among all the playing list to be involved.

"We asked for a show of hands as to those who have had a family member or someone close to them affected by cancer," Newett said.

"A hand of every player was raised.

"That response shows just how important these fund-raising efforts for research and support are.

"As a club it's important to help in any way we can."

Newett said the shaved head experience was also a way of building team unity.

"Every player gladly took part."

The third-year coach at the Pioneers said the club had already passed the $10,000 mark and more donations were being taken via the Shave For A Cure website.

On-field the Pioneers played the last of their pre-season trial games on Sunday against Murray Bushrangers at Epsom-Huntly Reserve.

The day included an under-16s match and then a six-term contest for the under-18s.

AFL Victoria's TAC Cup under-18 season starts this weekend when metro round matches are played.

First game is at Craigieburn on Saturday. There are two matches on Sunday at Carlton's Visy Park.

The Pioneers travel to Shepparton's Deakin Reserve on March 29 to tackle Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo's first home game in the 2014 campaign is on April 5 at Epsom-Huntly from 1.30pm against North Ballarat Rebels.  

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