Bendigo Pioneers’ team lists for the 2018 TAC Cup season have been announced.
A large number of exports from the Goulburn Valley and surrounds have made the under-18 or under-16 squads, highlighted by some returning stars in the older grade.
Bailey Waasdorp (Tongala), Jacob Atley (Rochester), Brodie Kemp (Echuca), Jack McHale and Noah Wheeler (formerly of Moama) all tasted Pioneers action last year and will help form a strong nucleus of the 58-player squad.
McHale and Wheeler joined Kemp at the Murray Bombers ahead of the season, but the talented pair will likely see plenty of game time with the Pioneers as the squad attempts to bounce back from last year’s campaign which saw just three wins in 18 matches.
Echuca continues to remain a hub for supreme junior talent.
The Murray Bombers had three of the top five players in the Pioneers’ best-and-fairest count last season (Darby Henderson in first, Jobee Warde second and Mitch Kemp fifth) and players on its list make up almost 60 per cent of the locals across Bendigo’s 2018 squads.
Matt Lias, Liam Tenace, Riley Clarke (under-18), Jack Evans, Joe Guiney and Riley Smith (under-16) join Kemp, McHale and Wheeler in the teams, with the contingent sure to be one of the strongest at the Pioneers.
Kyabram duo Riley Ironside and Cooper Vick have also made the older team, while fellow Bomber Thomas Burnett joins Rochester’s Nathan Kay and Adam McPhee as members of the under-16 side.
This weekend will be a busy one for the under-18 squad.
Fitness testing is on at Maribyrnong Secondary College today as part of the annual two-day AFL training and education camp.
This afternoon future stars will spend time with AFL Victoria delegates and Carlton Football Club officials, before heading to Essendon’s Tullamarine training base tomorrow.
The season kicks off for both squads at Mars Stadium on March 24 with a clash against the Greater Western Victoria Rebels.