Bendigo Pioneers coach David Newett says there were some impressive early signs for next TAC Cup season in trial games held at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve this week.
The Pioneers put about 130 under-18s prospects and 80 under-16s through their paces.
“This was probably the first step in the process of getting the squad organised for the coming pre-season. It’s the first chance for players we haven’t been able to see up against other players at the same level,” Newett said.
“Hopefully, with getting a taste they’ve got a realisation of where they’re at in terms of the other players in the region in their positions.”
Newett was encouraged with the group of bottom-aged players for 2013.
“The 17s were really good yesterday. There was some good quality footy played (on Wednesday) considering the tricky conditions with the wind, it just looked like there was some high-quality kids there,” he said.
With a large contingent of 17-year-olds playing for the Pios in 2012, Newett hopes they continue their development as top-age players.
“The guys that played last season we’ve laid a strong foundation with, I think our average this year was about 10 17-year-olds per game, so we’ll be aiming for those guys – with another pre-season – to step-up again to another level,” Newett said.
“They know the expectation and the level to play Pios footy and some of them were very good players last year.
“We’ve got enough players within this group and the 17-year-olds that we’ll be able to have a competitive squad again which will be good.”
The Pioneers will invite about 60 players to pre-season training, which begins on November 7.