Bendigo Pioneers coach Danny O'Bree expects Oskar Faulkhead's selection in the AFL mid-season draft to inspire his side in Sunday's NAB League clash with the Western Jets.
Faulkhead won't play for the Pioneers again after joining the Gold Coast Suns via the mid-season draft on Wednesday night.
The teenager from Wentworth was overlooked in last year's national draft, but took his game to another level with the Pioneers in 2022.
"What happened with Oskar (in the mid-season draft) is what it is all about,'' O'Bree said.
"Sacrificing a couple of wins to make sure players are playing in positions where they'll get noticed is important.
"Everyone at the program is very excited that Oskar gets an opportunity with the Gold Coast.
"He comes from the furthest part of our region and we put training hubs in place for those regions during pre-season.
"Even (draft night) we had a training session in Mildura that I went to and Oskar was there training.
"It shows the players in all parts of our region that if you do the work, and the right time of work, and you listen to feedback then you have a chance to be the best footballer you can be.
"Surely, that message is as strong as it could be right now."
The Pioneers have just one draw to show from their opening six games of the season.
The common factor in their five defeats - mental lapses.
In last week's loss to the Calder Cannons the Pioneers conceded six-straight goals in the second term and that proved to be the difference in the match.
"You can't lose concentration against any team because the competition is so even,'' O'Bree said.
"It doesn't matter what level of footy you're at, if your mind is not in the game at all times then you're going to be caught out at some stage.
"That's what happened to us in the second quarter (last week). Our intent might have been okay, but our willingness to defend and be physical was not evident.
"The ability is there, but the concentration levels are still a big question mark for us.
"Hopefully, that experience can help us stay in the game for longer."
The Pioneers have been strengthened by the return of four key players - Harvey Gallagher, Lachlan Wright, Jason Gillbee and Michael Kiraly.
The Jets, who have two wins from six games, also lost a key player on Wednesday, with Massimo D'Ambrosio drafted by Essendon.
Sunday's game is at Chirnside Park at 1pm.
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