TWO of this year’s top AFL draft prospects are among a host of inclusions for the Bendigo Pioneers’ TAC Cup game against the Gippsland Power on Sunday.
The Pioneers’ squad named on Thursday featured 12 ins – among them the highly-touted Jarrod Brander and Paddy Dow.
Brander and Dow are among the Pioneers’ contingent of Geelong Grammar students who are in this weekend’s squad, along with Brent Daniels, Lochie O’Brien and Jye Caldwell, while Scotch College’s Inji Fyffe is also available.
“We’ve got a few of our private school boys available that haven’t had an opportunity to play a lot of footy for us this year,” Pioneers coach Rick Coburn said on Friday.
“It’s probably the strongest team we’ve had available since round two.”
Key position player Brander has long been touted as one of the gems of the 2017 draft class, with Sunday to be his first game of the season for the Pioneers.
“Jarrod has had a really good year for Geelong Grammar and for the Allies in the Under-18 National Championships,” Coburn said.
“It’s his first game for the Pioneers this year and all going well, we’ll get him for our last three matches.”
With Brander playing his first game for the season, it will take the number of players used by the Pioneers this year to 64.
Lewin Davis – the Pioneers’ leading goalkicker with 18 – has been named in a forward pocket after playing last week for Essendon in the VFL and kicking a goal for the Bombers in their six-point win over Box Hill.
The Pioneers also had Daniels play VFL last weekend with Geelong in a win over Richmond.
The Pioneers have lost their past seven games and are now on the bottom of the ladder, not that it’s of any concern to Coburn.
“To be honest I’ve probably looked at the ladder twice this year,” Coburn said.
“All we’re focused on is just trying to go out over our last three games and play the best footy we can. Hopefully, that will include a couple of wins.”
The Pioneers (3-12) and Power (5-10) will clash at Ballarat’s MARS Stadium from 1pm.
Gippsland beat Bendigo by 26 points in round three.