YOUNG Guns from across the state will be aiming to fire in tomorrow’s curtain-raiser to the Victorian Football League preliminary final at North Port Oval.
The curtain-raiser to the Geelong and Werribee Tigers clash will feature seven players with links to Bendigo.
Players selected in the squads include Bendigo Pioneers clubmates Nick Mee, Harry O’Meara and Gene Pallazzo, Bendigo Gold ruckman Dean Putt, and Pioneers graduates Lucas Anderson, James Flack and Cameron Valentine.
Players were nominated by TAC Cup coaches, a VFL club or by leagues across Victoria.
“It’s a privilege to be nominated to play and an opportunity to impress scouts,” Pioneers and Sandhurst midfielder Harry O’Meara said yesterday.
The 17-year-old’s play for the Pioneers led to an invitation to the AFL state screening camp to be run on October 6 at Etihad Stadium.
O’Meara said this season was one of the most consistent he had played.
“Being a first-year player in TAC Cup was a huge challenge,” the midfielder said.
A premiership-winning player with Sandhurst’s under-18s last September, O’Meara was among the Dragons best in the latest senior finals against Golden Square and Strathfieldsaye.
O’Meara first played footy with St Therese’s under-12s and then kicked on with Sandhurst Marist Dockers and then Sandhurst.
His pace and ability to break lines are two of his major strengths.
A year 12 student at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, O’Meara will keep working on skills and fitness in the lead-up to the screening camp.
Mee, who celebrated his 18th birthday last Saturday, was rapt to be selected for the clash.
A second-year player with the Pioneers, the versatile Mee also impressed in Eaglehawk’s second half of the season and played one match for Bendigo Gold as a 23rd player against Collingwood.
Recruited from Mildura Imperials, Mee moved to Bendigo last summer and put in plenty of hours building up strength and working on skills.
His 5-2 run with Eaglehawk included a victory on home turf against Strathfieldsaye Storm, tonight’s preliminary finalist, as he switched between ruck-roving and playing in attack.
Most of his games for the David Newett-coached Pioneers in 2012 were off half-back or a wing.
Mee rated his best game for the Two Blues at Kyneton where he kicked three goals in a hard-fought win against the Tigers.
A clubmate from Imperials, Pallazzo will be aiming to win plenty of possessions and have an impact on the game as will South Mildura’s James Flack, who was fourth in the McLeod Medal for the Sunraysia FL’s best and fairest award, and Donald’s Anderson and Moama’s Valentine who spent this year playing with North Ballarat Roosters.