Bendigo Pioneers Football Club names the best of 21 years 

PREMIERSHIP glory, hundreds of matches and goals have been racked up by the 30 stars selected in the Bendigo Bank Pioneers Football Club's best team of 21 years.

The club's 21st season was marked at Saturday night's function at the All Seasons Hotel in Bendigo.

A team of 10 defenders, 10 midfielders or onballers, and 10 forwards was selected.

Those to have earned the prestigious honour include the Selwood brothers - Adam, Troy, Joel and Scott - and gun forwards Steven Reaper, Chris Tarrant and Nathan Thompson..

AFL premiership players Michael Braun, Brent Guerra, Josh Hunt, Rick Ladson and Dean Solomon were selected in the Pioneers Best in midfield, defence or attack.

There was plenty of versatility for any of the club's five coaches - Tony Southcombe, Brian Walsh, Rod Macpherson, Mark Ellis or David Newett - to work with.

Bendigo Pioneers Football Club's best of two decades:


Jarryn Geary - Club champion at the Pioneers in 2006, Jarryn

has played 93 games for St Kilda since being selected in the 2007 AFL rookie draft. The star from Eaglehawk was able to play defence, midfield or in attack with the Pioneers. Jarryn and his three brothers - Daniel, Shannon and Kallen - all played for the Pioneers. Jarryn was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in 2006.

Brent Guerra - The tough defender from Barham-Koondrook was drafted from the Pioneers to Port Adelaide at the end of the '99 season. Brent earned selection in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in '99. After being traded by Port to St Kilda and then delisted by the Saints, Brent has become a key player in Hawthorn's defence. He was a premiership player with the Hawks in 2008 and reached the 250-game milestone this season.

Rick Ladson - The brilliant midfielder-defender from Golden Square played 125 matches for Hawthorn. Rick was drafted to the Hawks in 2001 and played in the 2008 grand final victory against Geelong. Rick played a key role in the Pioneers run to the TAC Cup grand final in 2001 and was named in the TAC Cup team of the Year. He returned to the Bulldogs this season as playing senior coach.

Luke Livingston - A key-position player from Kerang, Luke excelled in defence or attack. He was selected in the TAC Cup Taem of the Year in 2000. Luke was taken at pick number four by Carlton in the 2000 AFL national draft. Luke predominantly played in defence in his 46 matches for the Blues. He later went on to play for Port Melbourne and represented the VFL.

Ryan O'Callaghan - After starring in a back pocket in his first year with the Pioneers, Ryan kicked on to be a brilliant rover in TAC Cup action and in the VFL with the Bendigo Diggers. The star from Ouyen was co-captain of the Pioneers in 1996 with Kristian Shevlin. Ryan represented NSW-ACT at the national under-18 titles and earned All-Australian selection. Has achieved success as a coach in the Sunraysia Football League.

Adam Selwood - A premiership player with West Coast in 2006, Adam played his final match for the club last weekend. The hard-running defender played in the 2005 grand final against Sydney. Adam was drafted to the Eagles in 2002 and racked up 178 matches for the club. He was third in the Eagles club champion award in 2007 and '08. Adam represented Australia in the International Rules series against Ireland.

Scott Selwood - The youngest of the Selwood siblings was taken at pick 22 by West Coast Eagles in the 2007 draft. Scott tackled a variety of positions in his time with the Bendigo Pioneers. A hard-at-it on-baller, Scott was the Eagles club champion in 2012. He has played 110 matches for West Coast.

Troy Selwood - Was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in 2002 and was drafted to the Brisbane Lions. Troy played 75 matches for the Lions, mainly on a wing or half-back. Was renowned for his desperation and never-give-up approach in his time with the Pioneers and Lions. Troy was captain of Geelong's VFL premiership-winning team last September.

Dean Solomon - A rough diamond from Broken Hill who was among the "super seven" drafted from the Bendigo Pioneers at the end of the '97 season. Dean was the first Pioneers draftee to play in a AFL premiership team as he starred from a half-back flank in Essendon's dominance of the 2000 season. He was later traded to Fremantle. Dean played 209 games in the AFL and is now on the coaching panel at the Gold Coast Suns.

Andrew Walker - Versatility has become a major strength of Andrew's game since he first played for Carlton in 2004. The gun from Echuca was a brilliant wingman or half-forward for the Pioneers and earned selection in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in 2003. Was the number two pick in the 2003 national draft. Andrew has played more than 160 matches in the AFL and will line up for the Blues in Sunday's elimination final against Richmond.


Michael Braun - Another star from Echuca, Michael played 228 matches across 12 seasons with the West Coast Eagles. Was runner-up in the Pioneers club champion award in '96 which capped an outstanding season by the midfielder from Echuca United. Superb fitness and skills were a trademark of his play through midfield for the Eagles. Played a key role in the club's premiership-winning year in 2006.

Nathan Brown - The only player in Bendigo Pioneers history to have won the Morrish Medal as the TAC Cup best and fairest in 1996. A brilliant player through the midfield or in attack, Nathan played 219 games and kicked 349 goals across stints with the Western Bulldogs and Richmond. The gun from Golden Square was the first Pioneer to win the club champion award in consecutive seasons, '95 and '96. Was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in '96.

Nick Dal Santo - Has played 260 matches and kicked 140 goals since being drafted to St Kilda in 2001. Played a key role as ruck-rover in the Pioneers run to the TAC Cup grand final in 2001. Nick is a three-time All-Australian and was runner-up for the Brownlow Medal in 2011. Nick has played in three grand finals for the Saints - 2008 and the two battles with Collingwood in 2010.

Daniel Elstone - A fierce competitor from Wentworth, Daniel was captain of the Bendigo Pioneers in the run to the 2001 grand final. Daniel set up many attacks with his strong attack at the contest, especially centre bounces and stoppages. His play earned the Neville Strauch Memorial trophy as club champion in 2001 and selection in the TAC Cup Team of the Year. Daniel was drafted to Hawthorn in '01.

Kallen Geary - A dual winner of the Pioneers club champion award in 2008 and '09. Kallen's play from a wing set up many attacks. The classy midfielder from Eaglehawk was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in 2008. Kallen is now playing for Broadbeach in the Queensland AFL.

Russell Grigg - Outstanding ruckman for the Bendigo Pioneers in the club's run to the grand final in 2001. Russell's play earned the TAC Cup coaches award in the same season. He was the first Pioneer to achieve the feat.

Daniel Harris - Clearance specialist from Echuca who earned TAC Cup Team of the Year selection in '99 and 2000. Daniel was drafted to North Melbourne in 2000 and went on to play 149 matches for the Kangaroos. Played 11 games for Gold Coast Suns in the club's inaugural year in the AFL. Daniel was Pioneers captain in 2000.

Dustin Martin - Was a standout in the TAC Cup from his first match with the Pioneers late in the 2008 season. Dustin had starred for Castlemaine and went on to be runner-up for the Pioneers club champion award in 2009, the same year he earned All-Australian selection at the national under-18 championships. Dustin was taken at number three by Richmond in the 2009 draft. He will play his first AFL final on Sunday against Carlton.

Joel Selwood - The most-decorated player in Pioneers history. Joel is a triple premiership player with Geelong - 2007, '09 and '11. The gun onballer was taken by the Cats at pick number seven in the 2006 draft. Joel was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in '05, but the next season was derailed by a knee injury. Joel's 156-game career for Geelong has included the AFL Rising Star award in '07 and selection in two All-Australian teams. He was appointed Geelong's captain last season.

Oliver Wines - Capped two outstanding seasons for the Pioneers in 2011 and '12 by being drafted to Port Adelaide at pick seven. Ollie's strength at centre bounces and stoppages set up many attacks in TAC Cup action. He was captain of the Pioneers last year and earned TAC Cup Team of the Year selection. Ollie has played all 22 matches in his AFL debut season, was third in the AFL Rising Star award and is playing in Saturday night's elimination final against Collingwood.


John Hardinge - A strong-marking player, John excelled in the ruck or attack for the Pioneers. He was captain of the Pioneers in the '97 season. John's tapwork set up many attacks in his time in the TAC Cup. An inspirational leader, John played more than 200 matches for South Bendigo and starred in the Bloods run to the Bendigo Football League grand finals in 2009 and '10. He now plays a key off-field role at the Bloods.

Josh Hunt - A raking left-foot kick, Josh played at full-forward for the Pioneers after moving from Mildura Imperials. He was drafted to Geelong in 2000 and has played 190 matches for the Cats. Josh played in the grand final victories in 2007 and '11, but was sidelined for another premiership victory in 2009 because of a knee injury. 

Corey Jones - The talented forward from Wycheproof-Narraport played 157 matches and kicked 216 goals after being drafted to North Melbourne. After playing for the Pioneers, Corey headed to South Australia and played for Sturt. He was taken at pick 60 by the Kangaroos in the 2000 draft. Corey was this season's Feeny medallist after starring for Wycheproof-Narraport in the North Central Football League.

Damien Lock - A classy forward or midfielder from Eaglehawk, Damien was drated to Carlton in 1996. He played 18 matches for the Blues before returning to the Borough. Damien was best afield in Eaglehawk's grand final victory in 2008. He coached North Bendigo in Saturday's Heathcote District Football League preliminary final. 

Steven Reaper - The greatest goalkicker in TAC Cup and Bendigo Pioneers history. Steven kicked 132 goals across two seasons for the Pioneers in '94 and '95. He was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year both times and was Pioneers captain in '95. The gun forward played in two premiership teams at Kyneton and Gisborne. The "Action Attraction" now plays a key role for AFL Victoria's   administration team.

Simon Rosa - Has made a huge impact on Bendigo football since he joined the Pioneers from Warrack Eagles. Played his first TAC Cup match in 9'99 and was a key mover in the club's run to the 2001 grand final. Simon later played for Carlton reserves, Bendigo Bombers and Peel Thunder. The brilliant onballer has played in Golden Square's past three grand final victories and continues to star in the club's pursuit of a fifth consecutive premiership.

Jake Stringer - Fought back from a season-ending broken leg in round one of the 2011 TAC Cup season to play a key role in attack, midfield or occasionally defence for the Pioneers in the 2012 season. Jake's play earned selection in the TAC Cup Team of the Year and being taken as the Western Bulldogs number one pick and fifth overall in the AFL national draft. Played 10 matches in his debut AFL season. 

Colin Sylvia - Was captain and club champion for the Pioneers in the 2003 season. The star from Merbein was drafted by Melbourne at pick number three in the 2003 national draft. Was selected in the TAC Cup Team of the Year in 2003. Colin has played 157 matches and kicked 129 goals for Melbourne Football Club. 

Chris Tarrant - His athleticism and marking ability stood out from his first match with the Pioneers in '96 after relocating from South Mildura. He was drafted by Collingwood in 1997 and went on to play 268 matches and kick 367 goals in the big league. Chris was the Magpies' leading goalkicker five seasons running - 2001 to '05. He earned All-Australian selection in 2003. After a three-year stint and 72 games with Fremantle, Chris returned to play two more years at Collingwood, which included the 2011 grand final, before retiring at the end of last season.

Nathan Thompson - The ruckman-forward from Kyneton starred in many matches for the Pioneers. Was drafted to Hawthorn in '97 and played 119 matches and kicked 192 goals for the Hawks. Later kicked on at North Melbourne and booted 135 goals in 60 matches for the Kangaroos. Was leading goalkicker on two occassions at the Hawks and Roos. 


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