Depth and strength around the footy highlight the Bendigo Pioneers list for the 2017 TAC Cup season.
While the Pioneers will again lack some height around the ground, new coach Rick Coburn said the club’s depth was a major positive.
“We're not a tall region, but we probably have more stronger boys on the list this year and our depth looks good as well,’’ Coburn said.
“I think we have 39 18-year-olds and 21 17-year-olds on the list and then we have another group of 17-year-olds who form our development squad. We’ll continue to work with them throughout the year in preparation for next year.”
The Pioneers have three over-age players at the moment, but could add up to two more to the list.
Sandhurst’s Cooper Jones, Strathfieldsaye’s Matt Harvey and Wentworth’s Derrick Smith Jr are the three listed over-age players.
Jones was part of the Vic Country under-18 squad last year before the second half of his season was ruined by injury. Harvey impressed across half-forward and through the midfield in Strathfieldsaye’s senior side in the BFNL last year.
Smith Jr won the Wentworth senior best and fairest award as a running defender.
The athletic player is already working closely with Richmond’s VFL squad.
Strathfieldsaye clearly has the most representatives of any club in the Pioneers region with nine. Sandhurst is next best with four. 24 of the 63 players are from the BFNL, while Sunraysia has the second-most representatives with 13.
“We feel as though we’ve got a spread of talent from across our regions,’’ Coburn said. “We’re really grateful for the work done by our regional coaches and footy development managers in those areas.”
The Pioneers start their TAC Cup campaign this Saturday against the Murray Bushrangers at Punt Rd.
They played their final practice matches against the Western Jets at Epsom last Sunday. The Pioneers scored a narrow win in the first match, while the Jets had the better of Bendigo in the second game. The Jets and Pioneers used the second game as an opportunity to play stronger teams.
“We played pretty well in the first game and did well to get over the line, but in the second game we were a bit disappointing,’’ Coburn said.
“We played some flashes of good footy in the second game, but overall it might have been the kick in the backside we needed going into round one.”
Bendigo Pioneers list for 2017:
1. Paddy Dow – Swan Hill
2. Kane Farrell – Castlemaine
3. Jye Caldwell – Golden Square
4. Keelin Betson – Mooroopna
5. Tom Campbell – Wedderburn
6. Cooper Jones – Sandhurst
7. Matt Harvey – Strathfieldsaye
8. Lochie O'Brien – South Mildura
9. Laine Fitzgerald – Balranald
10. Brent Daniels – Nyah Nyah West United
12. Lachie Wallace – Strathfieldsaye
13. Jarrod Brander – Wentworth
14. Coby McCarthy – Kyabram
15. Darby Henderson – Echuca
16. Jacob Atley – Rochester
17. Wade Donnan – Woomelang
18. Bailey Henderson – Strathfieldsaye
19. Mitch Kemp – Echuca
20. Angus Schumacher – Strathfieldsaye
21. Inji Fyfe – Wentworth
22. Billy Robertson – Sandhurst
23. Zane Keighran – Golden Square
24. Brady Hore – Leitch-Gunbower
25. Lewin Davis – Mildura
26. Daniel Clohesy – Strathfieldsaye
27. Braydan Torpey – South Bendigo
28. Zac Denahy – Castlemaine
29. Jack Thomas – Koondrook/Barham
30. Derrick Smith Jnr – Wentworth
31. Caleb Sheahan – Strathfieldsaye
32. Mitchell Goodwin – South Bendigo
33. Kalen Walker – Red Cliffs
34. Cooper Barber – Moama
35. Jobee Warde – Moama
36. Leyton Chisholm – Kyneton
37. Hugh Schaeche – Sandhurst
39. Lachlan Gill – Strathfieldsaye
40. Will Holt – Wedderburn
41. Daine Grace – Sth Mildura
42. Josh Grace – Sth Mildura
43. Josh Nitschke – Kerang
44. Will Keck Sth Bendigo
45. Connor O'Shea – Maryborough
47. Rhys Mutch – Gol Gol
48. Alex Smith-Ralph – Tyntynder
49. Jose Miliado – Woorinen
50. Steve Gunther – Pyramid Hill
51. Bailey Waasdorp – Tongala
52. Rourke Turner – Central FC
53. Hunter Lawrence – Strathfieldsaye
54. Phill Moimoi – Robinvale
55. Toby Sims – Macedon
56. Will Hamilton – Rochester
57. Koby Hommelhoff – Eaglehawk
59. Riley Burns – Mildura
60. Jack McHale – Moama
61. Jack Bouwmeester – Sandhurst
63. Mitchell Christensen – Irymple
64. Kobe Lloyd – Balranald
65. Evan Dorrington – Strathfieldsaye
68. Tom Walters – Golden Square
69. Austin Mertz – Moulemein
70. Liam Marciano – Red Cliffs
We're not a tall region, but we probably have more stronger boys on the list this year and our depth looks good as well.