Pioneers name squad

QUICK HANDS: Echuca's Darby Henderson returns to the Bendigo Pioneers in 2017.
QUICK HANDS: Echuca's Darby Henderson returns to the Bendigo Pioneers in 2017.

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.

Rick Coburn