BENDIGO Football Netball League coach Rick Ladson has one word to describe the 23 players selected to take on Gippsland in Saturday’s inter-league clash at the QEO – “united”.
Ladson announced a final squad of 23 plus three emergencies on Monday, with Golden Square’s Jack Geary named captain and Sandhurst ruckman Tim Martin the vice-captain.
“The buy-in from the players to inter-league footy has been sensational,’’ Ladson said on Monday.
“They are united in that they want to represent Bendigo footy the best they can.
“At the start of this campaign we put it on the players about commitment to inter-league and these players can’t be questioned.
“This is not just about this Saturday. This is something we want to build on for years to come.”
Injuries forced the withdrawal of Gisborne duo Ollie Messaoudi and Ben Sonogan and Strathfieldsaye defender Ash Trollop which hurt the BFNL squad.
All three would have made the final 23, but Ladson was more than happy with his final team.
“All along we’ve wanted a team that has flexibility and if you look at this team most players can play in three positions,’’ Ladson said.
“All players have been in very good form for their clubs and they are desperate to play inter-league footy.”
At just 22, Geary is the youngest BFNL captain in modern times.
He’s shown in recent weeks at Golden Square that leadership sits well on his young shoulders.
In the absence of injured skipper Simon Rosa, Geary has led the young Bulldogs superbly, taking his own game to another level.
“Jack’s footy resume speaks for itself. He’s a quality kid, he’s a quality footballer and he’s a quality leader,’’ Ladson said.
“He’s a proven big game performer as well.
“Jack and Tim (Martin) are worthy leaders of this group. They’re both young enough to lead this inter-league team for the next seven or eight years.”
BFNL team to face Gippsland:
B: Tim Walsh (Gis), Tyson MacIlwain (Mb), Clayton Anderson (GS).
Hb: Tyler Miles (Eh), Matt Thornton (Sh), Jon Coe (GS).
C: Jack Geary (GS), Ryan Maldenis (Sh), Nick Smith (SS).
Hf: Corey Jones (GS), Cam Rinaldi (KF), Ben Weightman (Kyn).
F: Stephen Milne (SS), Ryan Haythorpe (Sh), Mitch Dole (Sh).
Foll: Tim Martin (Sh), Matt Smith (SS), Brodie Filo (Eh).
Inter: Tom Waters (Gis), Nick Stagg (Sh), Tom Dowd (SS), Jake Hall (SS), James Saville (KF).
Emerg: Shannon Geary (SS), Jordan Collins (Kyn), Ash Morris (SB).