Tag: Kane Farrell

Classic Contests: Daniels proves a handful for the Rebels

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 8 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017 when the two teams met for the first of their two battles during the TAC Cup season.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 2
Sunday April 2, 2:30pm
Alfredton Recreation Reserve

GWV REBELS 2.3 | 10.5 | 10.9 | 14.12 (96)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.2 | 7.5 | 12.10 | 16.12 (108)

Draftees in action:

GWV – Lloyd Meek (Fremantle), Flynn Appleby (Collingwood), Thomas Berry (Brisbane)*
Bendigo – Brent Daniels (GWS), Paddy Dow (Carlton), Lochie O’Brien (Carlton), Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide), Angus Schumacher (Carlton), Jye Caldwell (GWS)*

* – denotes bottom-aged

GWV and Bendigo may have finished as the bottom two TAC Cup sides in 2017, but it did not stop the regions from producing solid draftee hauls out of their respective squads. The early and late rounds of the competition often see each team come in at full strength, and it was no different as the Rebels and Pioneers went at it in Round 2, three years ago, with Bendigo coming out on top by 12 points.

Both sides could lay claim to most of their future AFL draftees in this fixture, with GWV naming all of their three while Bendigo boasted a whopping six – only missing Jarrod Brander. The Pioneers’ production line was particularly impressive given it had three first rounders – Paddy Dow (Pick 3), Lochie O’Brien (10), and Brander (13) – attracting eyes from all around the pathway programs.

In terms of form, Bendigo struggled in Round 1 to click its stacked side into gear, falling by a comfortable 51 points to Murray on neutral territory. The Rebels did not fare any better, beating out the Pioneers’ total (47) but being thumped to the tuned of 82 points by eventual premier, Geelong.

The home side was unlucky not to share the spoils in a tight opening term, as both teams shared five scoring shots each. Bendigo would sneak ahead via its greater conversion, managing to split their chances 3.2 to GWV’s 2.3. It only worked to kick the Rebels into gear, as they took advantage of the more open contest to pile on eight second term majors and lead by 19 points at the main break.

Bendigo’s four goals in the term split GWV’s momentum and gave the Pioneers a sniff, with their top-end talent helping to spark an incredible turnaround. It was now the visitors’ turn to batter the scoring end, notching five goals while keeping GWV goalless to swing the lead 13 points in their favour. The Rebels could not recover enough, with their need to attack leaving them exposed the other way as both sides managed four goals apiece in the final term.

Brent Daniels‘ handful of goals meant he was exactly that for the GWV defence, and he could have had a massive day out had it not been for his four behinds. He was beaten out to best afield honours by Dow for his 21-disposal effort, while fellow Carlton recruits O’Brien and Angus Schumacher managed 26 and 21 respectively. A bottom-aged Jye Caldwell was also named among the best having racked up 19 touches, with Port forward Kane Farrell held to 12 and a goal.

Brisbane’s Thomas Berry notched 18 disposals, eight tackles, and a goal in an outstanding bottom-aged display, but had Collingwood VFL gun Cal Wellings beat him out to best-on recognition with 35 touches, 10 marks, and nine tackles. Freo bigman Lloyd Meek served his role in the ruck with 23 hitouts, while the final draftee afield, Flynn Appleby managed 13 disposals.

GWV would go on to shake the poor start with their five wins making for a superior tally to Bendigo’s three. The Rebels would also gain redemption in the return fixture, downing the Pioneers by 27 points. Still, their seven draftees over the next two drafts can only be labelled as a success.

Classic Contests: Bushrangers’ seven-goal last term blows away Pioneers

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 2 clashes in the NAB League this year between Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017, when the sides went head-to-head in an opening round meeting down at Punt Road in what was a tight game for three quarters before the Bushrangers stormed to victory in the last term.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 3.3 | 6.8 | 13.13 (91)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.3 | 2.5 | 4.8 | 5.10 (40)

Round 1 | Saturday, March 25, 2017
Swinburne Centre, 3.15pm

There was no form to go off for either side heading into the opening round’s clash at Punt Road, with both sides having a number of draft hopefuls on show. Over-ager Ben Paton was one of a number of prospects who were unlucky not to end up on an AFL list the year before, while the Bushrangers had a number of talls such as Hudson Garoni, Jacob Koschitzke, Jordon Butts and Ben Kelly who would trouble a lot of opposition sides. Coming off a Grand Final loss to Sandringham Dragons the year before, the Bushrangers were looking good for another deep finish after double-figure players were drafted in November. The Pioneers changed coaches with Rick Coburn coaching his first match in this game, with Paddy Dow leading a number of top draft prospects for the year, though there were still a few out of the side for this match. Others who would end up on AFL lists included Angus Schumacher and Kane Farrell who also played in the match, while a host of players would enter the state league system in the coming years.

It was clear from early on that the Pioneers would be no pushovers against a Bushrangers side that had seen much success of late. By quarter time, the Bendigo team led by two points in a low-scoring affair, though by half-time, Murray had regained control, albeit only slightly to lead by a mere four points at half-time. The game remained fairly even in the third quarter, but it was clear the favourites were starting to get on top, but not making the most of their chances. The Bushrangers booted 3.5 to 2.3 to extend the lead out to a straight two kicks by the final break. With the game at breaking point, nothing would be left on the line and Murray soon showed some of the talent that had taken it to last year’s grand final. The Bushrangers piled on 7.5 to 1.2 in a barnstorming final term to run away with a 51-point win. While the margin might not have been indicative of the overall closeness between the sides for the match, it did show what Murray was capable of when the Bushrangers got a run on.

Of all the areas, Murray dominated the inside 50 count 54-36 with a high proportion coming in the final term, whilst winning the clearance battle 33-19. With first hands on the footy, it was more surprising to see the Bushrangers also winning the tackle count on the day, 65-61. With five multiple goalkickers, the Bushrangers shared the load and were able to provide unpredictability going inside 50.

Nicholas Richards ended up with the most touches in the game, finishing with 27 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, while Paton’s kicking ability stood out in a best on ground performance thanks to 23 disposals (17 kicks), five marks, two tackles and 11 rebounds coming out of defence. Future Hawk, Harry Jones would pick up 26 touches (11 contested), four marks, three tackles, two clearances and six inside 50s, as Angus Hicks dug deep for 23 disposals (11 contested), five tackles, seven clearances and six inside 50s. Dave Smith booted two goals from 20 touches and five marks, while Joe Richards, Nathan Oakes, Garoni and Jessy Wilson also hit the scoreboard with a couple of majors. Butts finished the game with 15 touches, nine marks and two rebounds showing off his ability to find the ball that would lead to him becoming a Crow in time.

Dow was a star on the day with 23 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds showing why he was talked up in such a high way. The work in defence from Tom Campbell (11 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and five rebounds) and Jose Milado (18 disposals, six marks and seven rebounds) earned the pair the top votes from the coaching staff. Darby Henderson (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds) and Matt Harvey (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s) found plenty of the ball, while Jacob Atley also shone in defence with 19 disposals, six marks and nine rebounds. Of the future draftees, Schumacher had 14 disposals, four marks, six tackles and two rebounds, while Farrell finished with 13 touches, eight marks and four inside 50s.

Murray finished fifth on the table but fell to Sandringham Dragons in the elimination final at MARS Stadium, the second consecutive final the Bushrangers had lost to the Dragons after the 2016 Grand Final as Charlie Spargo would join Paton, Jones and Doulton Langlands on AFL lists at the end of the 2017 year. The Pioneers would finish on the bottom of the table with just three wins, 10 points behind the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, but would have three players drafted in the top 13 (Dow, Lochie O’Brien and Jarrod Brander), and six in total (Farrell, Schumacher and Brent Daniels) in what was a huge draft period for the program.

Classic Contests: Falcons hold on against tackle-frenzied Pioneers

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 1 clashes in the NAB League this year between Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Falcons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2016, when the teams faced off in mid-winter at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo with a combined 11.18 kicked between them.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.1 | 2.4 | 4.4 | 5.6 (36)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.7 | 6.12 (48)

Round 13 | Sunday, July 10, 2016
Queen Elizabeth Oval, 1pm

Heading into the Round 12 clash, it looked to be more than a formality with the top-of-the-table Geelong Falcons sitting at 10-2 from 12 rounds, while the Bendigo Pioneers were 3-9, though were only a win and percentage outside the eight. In terms of future AFL draftees, Angus Schumacher, Kane Farrell and Kayle Kirby were running around for the Pioneers, while the Falcons had a talented star by the name of James Worpel as a bottom-ager in the side, as well as speedster, Matt Ling. Game day had conditions that were as bad as you could get for a football match, and it showed in the end result with Bendigo laying a record 162 tackles, and both Josh Formosa and Isaac Miller laying 18 tackles each (one shy of the AFL record at that stage)

The first quarter saw the slog begin, with Geelong making more of its opportunities, converting two goals from six scoring chances, while the Pioneers were keeping in touch with 1.1 to trail by nine points at the first break. Many might have expected the ladder leaders to pick it up further after the first term, but the Pioneers instead drew closer, booting 1.3 to 1.0 and were within a kick at the main break. Sensing they had to lift a notch after the half-time break, that is exactly what the Falcons did, booting two goals, which were crucial in the scheme of things. However the Pioneers refused to let go, also converting two majors to maintain a single-digit deficit. Both sides could only manage a goal each in the frantic final term, but the Falcons dominated possession and time inside 50, booting 1.5 to 1.2 and got away with a narrow 12-point victory.

Jackson McLachlan was named best-on for the Falcons, picking up 27 disposals, two marks and six tackles, while Jack Blood laid a team-high 13 tackles to go with 21 touches and two marks. Mitch Diamond had 22 kicks for 25 disposals, as well as four marks and four tackles, while future premiership talent, David Handley was the only multiple goalkicker in the game with two snags from 13 disposals, three marks (one contested) and five tackles. Worpel ended the game with 12 disposals, three marks and four tackles, while Ling recorded 10 touches, one mark and six tackles. Hayden Elliot was the dominant ruck on the ground with 33 hitouts from eight disposals and five tackles.

The Pioneers had a whopping seven players who reached double-figure tackle counts, led by Formosa and Miller with 18, Wade Donnan (17), Darby Henderson (15) and Tom Campbell (14). Formosa also had 20 touches and a goal named best-on for the Pioneers, while Miller finished with 19 disposals and two marks. Henderson (15 disposals) and Kirby (13 disposals, two marks and 10 tackles) was also named among the best. For the future draftees, Farrell booted two crucial goals to go with 14 touches, five marks (two contested) and five tackles, while Schumacher helped himself to 14 disposals, two marks and five tackles.

Geelong would end up finishing in second position on the ladder with 13 wins from 17 games, reach the preliminary finals before going down to a red-hot Sandringham Dragons outfit who would go on to win the flag. Bendigo Pioneers finished 11th in what was an even lower end of the table, picking up four wins from 18 games, just ahead of Northern Knights on percentage.

South Australian weekly wrap: Roosters get back on track

SOME of South Australia’s (SA) young talents filtered back into South Australian National Football League (SANFL) games last week, with majority of SA’s U18 and U16 squad still away on National Championship duties.

School footy continues to be on break, so most clubs over the coming weeks will be able to get their best sides on the park, so SANFL club results will be interesting to watch. Jamie Morgan, Tom Wyman and Damon Mattiazzo all took a look at what is making news in South Australia.


Port Adelaide 14.15 (99) defeated West Adelaide 3.4 (22)

Port Adelaide cemented their spot in the top five of the SANFL with an elementary victory over strugglers West Adelaide. The Magpies were in complete control of the contest with West Adelaide unable to cause any threat to the side that only featured one non-AFL listed player in their line-up. Billy Frampton was superb for Port with a dominant display comprising 25 disposals, nine marks and four goals. Former Lion Sam Mayes produced his best performance of the season so far with 28 disposals, seven marks and seven clearances, as Willem Drew and Kane Farrell were also busy with 23 touches each. Matthew Broadbent and Jarrod Lienert controlled the play from the wings with 25 and 24 disposals respectively. Highlight of the game came from Port Adelaide NGA player Martin Frederick who kicked the potential goal of the year with an amazing coast-to-coast goal from inside Port’s defensive 50. For West, former Hawthorn player Dallas Willsmore‘s efforts were left unrewarded in a tireless display accumulating 34 disposals, Chris Schmidt (31 disposals and five marks) and Kaine Stevens (30 disposals and six clearances) were also noteworthy.

South Adelaide 9.8 (62) defeated Sturt 15.8 (98)

The Double Blues grabbed the premiership points away from home at Flinders University Stadium, defeating the Panthers by 36 points. Josh Patullo kicked three majors for the victors and was aided in front of goal thanks to two goals each by mainstays Mark Evans and Josh Hone, Jack Penfold and veteran on-baller Aidan Riley. Consistent duo James Battersby (30 disposals, six marks, three tackles and eight clearances) and Sam Colquhoun (28 disposals, five marks, nine tackles and five clearances) helped their side win the midfield battle. Emmanuel Irra was the only multiple goalkicker for South Adelaide, booting two majors, with Abe Davis (brother of recent-Adelaide debutant Ben) again prolific with 33 disposals. Joseph Haines and Nick Liddle were prolific, recording 31 and 27 touches respectively, with the former also registering an impressive 10 marks and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Norwood 6.15 (51) defeated by Adelaide 13.10 (88)

Adelaide’s strong form in the SANFL continued with a dominant 37-point victory over Norwood. While the game was close in the first half, an eight goals to two second half – including a four goals to zero last quarter – saw the Crows run away with the contest. Adelaide listed players Patrick Wilson (28 disposals, six clearances, three tackles, nine marks and two goals) and Bryce Gibbs (22 disposals, 10 clearances, two marks and three tackles) impressed, as did Riley Knight who booted two goals from 22 disposals. For Norwood, Lewis Johnston continued his great form with 31 disposals, 10 marks, six tackles, two clearances and two goals, while Mitch Grigg and Matthew Nunn both had 26 touches, as well as a combined 17 marks, 14 tackles and 11 clearances in the loss.

Eagles 11.9 (75) defeated by Glenelg 14.6 (90)

This was a tough hitout from two in-form teams with Glenelg holding on by 15 points. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead with Luke Partington clearly best for the Tigers all day. Partington finished with 43 disposals, eight marks, eight clearances, and two goals. The Eagles steadied once again on the back of small forward James Rowe booting two goals in the second quarter who finished the game with four majors, but Glenelg forwards Brad Close (20 disposals, two goals) and Tom Schott (three goals) were key contributors in the win. The Eagles had their chances after being level at three quarter time and were led well by experienced Chris Hall (30 disposals, seven marks) but fell short.

Central District 11.13 (79) defeated by North Adelaide 17.5 (107)

Roosters players and supporters can finally put the nineteenth man saga behind them after securing their second win finally had them out of negative premiership points zone. Aidan Tropiano led the way for the Roosters with 39 disposals and seven clearances, while young forward Frank Szekely finished with four goals and earned a Breakthrough Player Nomination. Consistent performers Travis and Jarrod Schiller had a heap of the footy with 42 and 30 possessions apiece for the Bulldogs.


Norwood 10.12 (72) defeated West Adelaide 4.7 (31)

Norwood were able to consolidate second spot on the ladder with a comfortable victory against third placed West Adelaide. Norwood were led by Connor Bristow who was dominant with 29 disposals that included 15 marks and a goal, Bristow was joined by dropped seniors Cody Szust and Christopher Olsson who had 28 and 26 disposals respectively. Brodie Carroll had 19 disposals returning from his stint in the senior side, as former State Academy players Tyler Martin (20 disposals) and Jacob Collins (16 disposals) were also influential. For West, James Bentley had a prolific game with 31 disposals and 1.4 for goal, Connor Fairlie (26 disposals), Lyndon Hupfield (24 disposals and 10 marks) and Aaron Anderson were other standouts.

South Adelaide 9.5 (59) defeated Sturt 7.14 (56)

South Adelaide prevailed by just three points in a nailbitting curtain raiser with Sturt. Returning from State Under-18 duties, Panther Darnell Tucker impressed with two goals from his 12 disposals, however it was his defensive pressure (10 tackles) which really stood out. Luke Bogle was crucial in his sides triumph, winning 31 disposals and getting the ball going his sides way with 11 clearances. For Sturt, Casey Voss was solid in what was a well-rounded statistical outing, collecting 25 disposals, six marks, five tackles, six clearances and seven inside-50s. Perhaps unlucky not to be given a chance in the SA Under-18 side, Anzac Lochowiak was effective again, collecting 23 disposals and laying 11 tackles. Fellow State Academy member Oliver Grivell booted 1.2 from. his 13 disposals. He took two contested marks (five in total) and, crucially, contributed to his sides defensive pressure by connecting with five tackles. Edward Allan was the most prolific player on the ground, amassing 33 disposals, six marks, six tackles and six clearances.

WWT Eagles 9.4 (58) defeated by Glenelg 10.13 (73)

The Eagles have had an inconsistent few weeks, while Glenelg has been improving with the Tigers securing a 15 point win. With some players recovering from injuries, the Tigers look a bit more settled and on the back of strong performances from Tom Feely (28 disposals seven marks,) and Ben Sawford (25 disposals and 10 clearances) the Tigers held on. Young talent Declan Carmody was good with two goals and Finn Betterman was also amongst the best. Eagles struggled to play consistent football and defender/mid Jake Westbrook and Sam Rowland were best for the Eagles.

Central District 17.12 (114) defeated North Adelaide 4.8 (32)

Centrals did a demolition job on the Roosters by 82 points. Darcy Pisani look set for a League call up after a 42-possession, one-goal game and Connor McLean finished with four goals. Max Lower battled for the Roosters to finish with 34 disposals, and youngster Jackson Antrobus (son of Tony) finished with one goal for the losing side.

Under 18s:

Norwood 15.8 (98) defeated West Adelaide 7.4 (46)

West Adelaide easily dispatched a disappointing Redlegs side with a 52 point victory at the City Mazda Oval. Beau Nunan was the star of the game with a performance headlined with six goals for the Bloods, Joel Groom was top ball winner for his side with 27 touches. Eduard Van Den Berg was also fundamental to West’s win, as the Blood’s Riley Thilthorpe kicked three goals from eight contested marks. For Norwood, Henry Nelligan continued his prolific form with 27 disposals, nine clearances and a goal with Mitchell Carroll also impressing with 26 touches and seven marks.

South Adelaide 8.9 (57) defeated Sturt 7.12 (54)

South Adelaide snatched victory from Sturt by three points in a come-from-behind victory down south. The Panthers were led by Sacred Heart duo Marcus Lippett (26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and three inside 50s) – who was strong in the air with three contested grabs – and bottom-aged state representative Zac Dumesny (23 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles and eight clearances). Consistent medium forward Mitch Riddle booted two goals to sit equal-fourth in the under-18 goalkicking standings. Ruckman/tall forward Ben Ryan and Tyler Oliver also contributed two goals, with Nicholas Kraemer‘s 10 tackles also of note. Sturt dominated in the ruck, thanks to 32 hit-outs from Sam Zevenboom and 25 from Amos Doyle. Midfielder Tully Kennett was instrumental in-tight, collecting 36 disposals (including 26 handballs), 12 tackles and winning 14 clearances. Declan Fahey (33 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and nine clearances) and Charlie Allen (32 touches, five marks, 11 tackles and six clearances) were also especially busy, with Aiden Holland and Angus Kitto Sturt’s multiple goal kickers with two apiece.

Glenelg 12.4 (76) defeated WWT Eagles 9.16 (70)

Despite a late charge from the Eagles, Glenelg hung on to win by six points. Cooper Hornsell impressed with three goals and 17 disposals, and Riley Holder is having a strong season to date again finishing with two goals and 19 disposals. Eagles ball accumulators Lachlan Hoile finished with 30 disposals and six clearances and Taj Schofield (son of Jarrod) was good for the Eagles finishing with 23 disposals. The Eagles retained top spot, but the chase for finals will be tough.

Central District 8.17 (65) defeated North Adelaide 11.7 (73)

North secured an eight-point victory over Centrals. The Bulldogs surged in the last quarter but weren’t able to secure a win. Jack Carpenter from the Bulldogs had a good all round game with 25 disposals, six marks and a goal, while Jakob Thomson impressed with three goals and 22 disposals and 10 marks, six of which were contested. North remain second on the ladder behind Eagles. Tyran Hill was good for North thanks to a two-goal, 25-disposal game and Jamison Murphy continued some solid form again with 28 disposals and two goals as well.

NAB League season preview: Bendigo Pioneers

AN ADDITIONAL training base, renewed optimism and fresh opportunities headline a successful off-season for the Bendigo Pioneers. The club with the largest land mass in the competition is ready and raring to go in season 2019, after a number of top-agers impressed as bottom-agers last season. Talent Manager Stephen Sharp said he was optimistic about the year ahead.

“We had a reasonably strong 17-year-old group last year who are obviously now top-age,” he said. “We think we’ve got some good prospects, and getting access to all our kids together would be a dream for us, to be able to have them all train together and play together because we think that would be able to help our performances. “Not mentioning wins because it’s not the focus of the program. “We’re pretty excited, but we do get access to most of them.”

While some of the Pioneers top prospects, Brodie Kemp and Thomson Dow will board at Geelong Grammar, Bendigo will have access to them in the first few rounds and late in the season. It will boost the Pioneers, who Sharp said have a number of raw potential draft prospects for the 2019 season.

“(Kemp) would be one of the top prospects,” Sharp said. “There’s himself, there’s Thomson Dow, there’s Flynn Perez who’s out with an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) for the year, he’s had an ACL reconstruction so he won’t play any footy, but he’ll get himself ready for the combine. “He’s a real leader. “There’s James Schischka, there’s Aaron Gundry who’s about 200cm. “We’ve got Matt Hird who’s a developing tall who’s had a bit of injury interruption, he’s 203cm, he ran in the state trials of 800, 1500m for his school in NSW, he lives in Barham. “We’ve got some raw talent up there. “Braydon Vaz is another key forward/defender, hybrid sort of player. “Cooper Vick, we’ve got some good talent at the top end. We think we’ve got a handful, whether that be five, it could be one.”

Sharp said the 2019 draft crop had the potential to emulate that of the 2017 crop which saw Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien, Angus Schumacher (all Carlton), Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Brent Daniels (GWS GIANTS) and Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) all land at AFL clubs.

“We think there’s good prospects this year, not too dissimilar to 2017,” he said. “We were a bit lean last year, we thought we might get two. “We thought Jacob Atley might have gone, and he was pretty close, I think Essendon were keen to take him. “He’s been contracted to their VFL. “Obviously Jye Caldwell went to GWS at 11. “But we think there could be three or four.

“We’re happy with the way the program is progressing. “We’ve had 14 players drafted in the past four years, just under four a year. “If you can get another four this year, that keeps that consistency up there which is really good. That sends a good message to the kids in our region, if you come into our region you can get drafted.”

With the Bendigo region stretching up to both the New South Wales and South Australian borders, the Pioneers network stretches across the north west of the state. While the region is large, it provides its own challenges with travel a staple of Pioneers players routines. Sharp was excited to announce a fourth training base to reduce travel over the off-season.

“I think it’s ticking along well,” Sharp said. “We’ve got some really good staff, we’ve opened up a Moama training base this year so we’ve got four regional centres, so we’ve got Bendigo, Moama, Swan Hill and Mildura who train from November through to nearly the end of February. “Purely because of the size of the region we can’t get everyone together. “In saying that we do have our testing down here in Bendigo at the end of December and had some trial games in early February, which is always good to get the kids together when we can.”

In 2019, the new-look NAB League features interstate sides once again, and brings back memories for Sharp, who recalls a time when non-Victorian sides were a regular fixture on the then-TAC Cup calendar. Sharp said Tasmania being a full-time side was particularly exciting for the competition and the Pioneers program.

“It’s exciting for us because I was involved many years ago with the NSW/ACT Rams when we were in Canberra,” he said. “The (Tasmania) Mariners and the Rams were a part of the normal fixturing back in that 96 (1996) through to the early 2000s. “So we’re excited by that prospect because we played Tassie in Tassie in 2015 in May, and we play them twice this year.”

Sharp said the club was excited to both travel down to Tasmania in July, and welcome the Devils to Queen Elizabeth Oval in May.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get away and stay overnight, so we’re looking forward to playing Tassie,” he said. “Particularly with them coming here adds a bit more profile to our program with an interstate team coming here.”

With an exciting batch of raw talents in 2019, Sharp said spectators could expect the Pioneers to play an exciting brand of football to give themselves the best chance of being drafted, while maintaining accountability.

“I think that’s a philosopy of our program,” he said. “We’ve got to showcase the kids’ talents; defensive mindset and accountability when need be, but you’ve got to get the footy and take the game on and showcase what you’ve got because it is that sort of program, so Rick’s got a really simple game style. “We’re working his coaching principles around teaching the fundamentals, your clean ground ball, your kicking skills, your handballing, your marking, your decision making, all that simple stuff is a real strong focus of his coaching. Whether he’s coaching groups or throughout our region, you can get caught up in structures of the game, gameplans and setups and all that, but if you can’t execute it… you could have the best gameplan in the world couldn’t you? We thought we’d keep it pretty simple.”

The Bendigo Pioneers begin their season on Sunday, March 24 against Geelong Falcons at Central Reserve, Colac.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 20

A NUMBER of new faces were among the first-year players who impressed in their games on the weekend, continuing the season trend of readymade draftees from last year’s AFL National Draft.

Hunter Clark

Hunter Clark was typically calm and composed across the St.Kilda half-back line in their defeat to the Western Bulldogs. The 19 year-old collected 20 disposals and recorded three rebounds but crucially, managed a disposal efficiency of 90 per cent, hitting 18 out of 20 targets by hand and foot and helping his side maintain possession of the Sherrin. The long-haired Hunter, who is versatile but looks perhaps best suited to a role in defence, has performed well enough this season to suggest he will live up to the hype as a future star of the competition.

Will Walker

Second-gamer Will Walker bagged the first two goals of his young career at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon. Viewed by some as a surprise selection when he was taken as early as pick 23 by the ‘Roos last year, Walker collected the majority of his possessions across the half-forward and wing areas, where his long leg and speed make him an exciting prospect for North. In addition to his two smart goals, Walker collected 11 disposals (seven kicks and four handballs at 64 per cent disposal efficiency), two clearances, one tackle and five score involvements. With the likes of Shaun Higgins and Ben Jacobs looking to make their returns to the side, Walker will have his work cut-out to keep his position. However he will undoubtedly have learned greatly from exposure in his first year.

Kane Farrell

In what was his second game and first Showdown, Kane Farrell was impressive, netting three goals. Opposed to Crows 199-game veteran David Mackay for much of the contest, Farrell was damaging out the back of the contests, hitting the scoreboard to help Port crawl back into the game after Adelaide got off to a flyer. Despite his side enduring a heartbreaking loss, the Victorian fitted in nicely, gaining 384 metres, moving the ball inside-50 five times and taking two strong contested marks. He looks to have made the small forward role his own, for the time being at-least.

Cameron Rayner

It was a performance which he will remember for crucially missed a chance to snatch the game late, however the number one draft pick was strong across the board. Rayner presented well up the spine of the ground as a medium forward, collecting six of his 14 disposals in the true centre-half-forward region. In addition to his six marks and two goals, also impressive was Cam’s time on-ground percentage which, at 82 per cent, suggests the has really worked hard to improve his endurance over the course of the year, given this was arguably the Western Jet’s lone flaw as a draftee. Rayner’s field kicking was terrific, ending with a disposal efficiency of 86 per cent however he will rue his final kick of the match.

Jack Higgins

In the absence of Premiership on-baller Dion Prestia, first-year small Jack Higgins stepped up the the plate, relishing his chance of added midfield minutes. A high draft pick from 2017, Higgins tallied 18 disposals (11 kicks and seven handballs), took two marks, laid a couple of tackles and kicked 1.2 in-front of goal. The former Oakleigh Charger showed off his stoppage smarts with four clearances and was an important piece in getting the ball moving for the Tigers. Although his role saw Higgins focus on winning and extracting the contested ball from inside, his disposal efficiency of 44 per cent will be an area for improvement moving forward.

Bayley Fritsch

In the Demons rout of the struggling Gold Coast, Bayley Fritsch once again more-than justified his second-round selection in the 2017 National Draft. His ability to cover the ground, pushing up across the wings and into the defensive half is becoming a trademark, as is his aerial prowess which saw him take another nine marks (including five intercept possessions). Recruited from the Dees’ VFL affiliate side Casey, notched up 21 touches (15 kicks and six handballs at 67 per cent efficiency) to go with 332 metres gained, three inside-50’s and two rebound-50’s. Fritsch is now not only an established best-22 player, but fast becoming an important link-up player for the Demons as they head into a draught-breaking finals series.

Tim Kelly

The incredible story of Tim Kelly rolls on, this time with the Western Australian collecting 36 touches (19 kicks, 17 handballs), three tackles, three marks, four clearances, 669 metres gained and one goal in the nail-biting loss at the hands of Richmond. Kelly was typically cool and composed under pressure in a game where many players struggled to get clean possessions away, highlighting his immense talent. I feel as if Kelly’s disposal efficiency (53 per cent) does not quite justify how good he was. Whenever the smooth-mover was in possession of the ball, you feel as if something good will come from the disposal. Kelly continues to star in just his first year in the competition, ignoring the media attention regarding his future at Kardinia Park to perfection.

TAC Cup preview: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers are coming off another year of potential, but falling short during the season, taking out the 2017 wooden spoon. They had plenty of moments throughout the year that showed recruiters and fans that there was plenty of talent, which was highlighted on draft night with an equal club-record seven draftees selected – six in the AFL National Draft, and two in the top 10. While that did not equate to wins on the field, the Pioneers were rarely at full-strength given their star players had school and state commitments throughout the season.

Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien will now be able to show off their class for Carlton on the biggest stage, drafted along with Angus Schumacher. Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) and Brent Daniels (GWS) were all drafted interstate, while Derek Smith Jnr was picked up by Richmond under the Next Generation Academy program.

In 2018, the Pioneers might not have the ridiculous top-end class they did last year, but there are still a number of highly rated prospects. At the top of most recruiters lists will be Jye Caldwell – a player who burst onto the scene at the National Under 16 Championships – and Jacob Atley, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother’s Shaun and Joe. In terms of depth, Daine Grace showed signs at times he could be an imposing tall with good agility, while Liam Marciano and Phill Moimoi are other players who stood out in their bottom-age years.

One overager we are excited to see back is Bailey Henderson who had a good mix of skill and poise, and was unlucky not to be drafted last year. He will be a real figurehead in the midfield and expect him to be working more on his inside game to add another string to his bow. Overall in 2018, the Pioneers will have just two players – Henderson and Atley – who played double figure games last season. Grace played seven games and Marciano six, the only four players with more than five games to their name.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

There is no hiding the fact that the Bendigo Pioneers did not have a good season on paper last year, especially considering the high hopes that a squad with the talent the Pioneers had. In saying that, they did knock off grand finalists Sandringham Dragons in round six, as well as GWV Rebels (round two) and Western Jets (round eight). After holding a win-loss record of 3-5 after eight rounds, there was hope in the team making its first finals series in some time, but unfortunately for the Pioneers, they lost the last 10 games of the season to finish 3-15.

They did take it up to Calder Cannons, Northern Knights and Gippsland Power in the second half of the season however, so there were some positives to take out of it. While the results were not ideal, the number one goal of the competition is development and the Pioneers nailed it in 2017. They had seven drafted and a couple of those already look like making an impact at AFL level. It was a credit to the hard work the Pioneers staff put in, with many travelling long distances and spending many hours getting the players up and about for the weekend games.

2018 Snapshot:

Bendigo Pioneers are renowned travellers and they start their season on the road this Saturday at Mars Stadium against the GWV Rebels. They then travel to Shepparton in round two to face the Murray Bushrangers, before back-to-back games at Queen Elizabeth Oval against Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers. The Pioneers play just six games at Queen Elizabeth Oval in 2018, and none at Epsom Huntly Reserve, meaning road trips are inevitable. They will hope to get off to a good start this weekend and try and notch up more wins this season. In a fixture anomaly, the Pioneers face the Rebels three times in the season – twice in Ballarat and once in Bendigo.

2018 Fixture:

Bendigo Pioneers

MARS Stadium
Deakin Reserve
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Preston City Oval
Rams Arena
Box Hill City Oval
Burbank Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Windy Hill
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Shepley Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
Queen Elizabeth Oval
MARS Stadium
Queen Elizabeth Oval
Ikon Park

Draftees named for AFLX

TWENTY-one draftees from the 2017 National Draft will get an early taste of senior football in the AFL’s newest competition – AFLX. Among them are three former Sandringham Dragons, two Bendigo Pioneers and two Eastern Ranges, while Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons) and Jack Petruccelle (Northeren Knights) are the sole players named from their TAC Cup sides.

The tournament begins on Thursday night with six sides – Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast – playing shortened 20-minute matches in a round robin format in two pools from which the winner of each pool advances to the grand final at the end of the night. Two further AFLX round robins will be played on Friday and Saturday night respectively.

Played at Hindmarsh Stadium in South Australia, former Sturt players Patrick Wilson (Adelaide) and Mitchell Crowden (Fremantle) have been named, as have Jackson Edwards (Glenelg now Adelaide), Stefan Giro (Norwood now Fremantle), Dom Barry (Glenelg now Port Adelaide) and Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL now Adelaide). Mature-ager Tim Kelly (South Fremantle now Geelong), Bailey Banfield (Claremont now Fremantle), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco now West Coast), Jake Patmore (Claremont now Port Adelaide) and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle now West Coast) are the West Australians involved.

Along with the thrill that comes with representing an AFL club, there is the potential for a number of former teammates to face off on the elite stage. Former Sandringham Dragons Nathan Murphy and Hamish Brayshaw could go head to head when the Magpies face the Eagles, while Brayshaw could also face off against his brother Andrew if both West Coast and Fremantle make the grand final. Glenelg pair Jackson Edwards and Dom Barry could go head-to-head if the South Australian sides make the grand final, as could Eastern Ranges’ exports Jaidyn Stephenson and his former captain Joel Garner if the Magpies meet the Power in the decider. Other former teammates that could face off include Patrick Wilson and Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Tim Kelly and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle), and Kane Farrell and Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers).

The AFLX competition is played on a ground with dimensions of between 100-120m in length and 60-70m in width, with four posts at each end and two 40m arcs. Each team will consist of 10 players per game – seven on the field and three on the bench – and there are no restrictions on rotations. No marks will be paid on backwards kicks (except in the forward 40m area) and the last touch out of bounds is a free kick. Kick-ins will occur after each score – even goals – while at least two players from each team must start each quarter inside each 40m arc and any deliberate rushed behinds will result in a free shot to the opposition team from the forward 40m arc resulting in a potential 10-point goal.

The full list of draftees named for the first night for the AFLX competition is:

Adelaide: Patrick Wilson (Sturt), Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL), Jackson Edwards (Glenelg)

Collingwood: Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges), Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)

Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Bailey Banfield (Claremont), Stefan Giro (Norwood)

Geelong: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Tim Kelly (South Fremantle), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)

Port Adelaide: Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers), Jake Patmore (Claremont), Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges), Dom Barry (Glenelg)

West Coast: Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco), Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights), Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle)


6.10pm – Port Adelaide v Geelong
6.38pm – Adelaide v Collingwood
7.06pm – Geelong v Fremantle
7.34pm – West Coast v Adelaide
8.02pm – Fremantle v Port Adelaide
8.30pm – Collingwood v West Coast
9.03pm – Grand Final

Bendigo Pioneers 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Bendigo Pioneers

Finished: 12th
Wins: 3
Losses: 15
Percentage: 68
Points: 12

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Paddy Dow (Carlton)
  • Lochie O’Brien (Carlton)
  • Jarrod Brander (West Coast)
  • Brent Daniels (GWS Giants)
  • Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide)
  • Angus Schumacher (Carlton)
  • Derek Smith Jnr (Richmond)

2017 Review:

While the on-field results were once again not what the Bendigo Pioneers had hoped, draft night was a raging success with a massive six players drafted from the club – and Derek Smith Jnr added as a Category B rookie at Richmond – its best ever result. Many believed this year was the year the Pioneers could finally break the finals hoodoo of the past decade, and while it was not to be, their development – as with those at Geelong Grammar where a number of the draftees boarded – should be praised for their work.

Carlton was the biggest benefiary, taking two Pioneers in the top 10 in Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien, while also picking up a third Bendigo boy in Angus Schumacher late in the draft. Jarrod Brander was touted as a top five pick early in the season but drifted as far as West Coast before the Eagles decided enough was enough, while pint sized speed machine Brent Daniels headed to the Giants and Kane Farrell found a home at Port Adelaide.

It was a great result for the club with outside midfielder Bailey Henderson considered the unluckiest to miss out, but given his future scope all is not lost. Darby Henderson topped all statistical charts for the season taking out the Pioneers best and fairest and it will be interesting to see where his future lies whether it be in the state leagues or back as an over-ager. Meanwhile the likes of Jobee Warde, Matt Harvey, Laine Fitzgerald and Lewin Davis were also impressive at times throughout the season.


2018 Preview:

Looking ahead to 2018, the Pioneers might not have the bucketload of talent they had in 2017, but there are still a couple of top-end prospects from which are likely to go high on draft night. Leading the way are Jye Caldwell and Jacob Atley who the former has been touted as a top picks since the under 16s, while Atley has been consistent over the past couple of seasons.

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers) 189cm | 75kg | General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 16.8 disposals | 5.9 marks | 2.4 tackles | 3.5 rebounds | 59% KE | 62% DE | 41% CP

Atley is a clean mover who knows how to find the football and was one of the better rebounders in the TAC Cup last season. Expect him to spend time through the midfield in his top-age year and he has a good balance between offensive and defensive traits, providing plenty of drive for the Pioneers.

Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (2) 17.7 disposals | 2.7 marks | 5.3 tackles | 3.3 clearances | 76% KE | 81% DE | 47% CP

Caldwell is a special talent and could well go top 10 on draft night with a consistent season. A lovely kick of the football and a high contested possession rate at the same time, Caldwell mostly played forward when representing Vic Country at the National Under 18 Championships, but is expected to be more of an inside midfielder next season. He tackles hard, wins the clearances and is so balanced inside or out so it is not hard to see why he is a promising prospect.

Others to keep an eye on:

Daine Grace (Bendigo Pioneers) 195cm | 79kg | Key Position Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 4 disposals | 2.1 marks | 1.6 hitouts } 0.6 goals | 50% KE | 71% DE | 61% CP

Liam Marciano (Bendigo Pioneers) 173cm | 62kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 19 disposals | 4.3 marks | 2.7 tackles | 2.5 inside 50s | 55% KE | 68% DE | 28% CP

Phill Moimoi (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 83kg | Outside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 9.8 disposals | 3.8 marks | 1.8 tackles | 1.5 inside 50s | 46% KE | 54% DE | 38% CP



Bendigo Pioneers will look back at 2017 fondly with a record number of players drafted and some great talent heading to AFL clubs. While 2018 might be different, the Pioneers will be looking to see the load shared between its players who have seen what is possible with hard work. It will be interesting to see what the squad looks like in 2018 with a few key position players and smaller pocket rockets a chance to impress in front of recruiters.

2017 AFL Draft Combine: Day 3 results

AGILE tall Aiden Bonar and exciting West Australian Kyron Hayden were among the top performers on day three of the 2017 National AFL Draft Combine.

Players were subjected to a busy day of testing, with the jumps, sprints and agility events held in the morning. The inaugural Yo-Yo test was run in the afternoon, before players meet with AFL club recruiters after dinner.

Bonar equalled the record for standing vertical jump with a leap of 89cm, matching that of Adelaide’s Jordan Gallucci 12 months earlier, while Hayden leaped into the record books with a massive 105cm jump in the running vertical leap. Hayden finished seven centimetres behind Bonar in the standing vertical jump.

In the 20m sprint, raging favourite Jack Petruccelle raced home in 2.87 seconds, marginally ahead of Bonar and Bendigo Pioneer Kane Farrell who both recorded times of 2.90 seconds. Ruck/forward Ben Miller raised eyebrows with a huge 2.91 seconds, equal with Northern Knights captain Nick Coffield.

Miller went even better in the agility test, equalling Farrell with a time of 8.10 seconds. Farrell’s teammate Brent Daniels finished just one hundredth of a second behind, while Eastern Ranges’ Trent Mynott finished in 8.20 seconds. Irish star Stefan Okunbar also recorded a few highlights with a top 10 finish in the 20m sprint and agility test.

Endurance beast Andrew Brayshaw took out the new yo-yo test with a score of 22.4 ahead of Vic Metro teammate Dylan Moore and speedster Matthew Ling. South Australian Alex Martini, tall defender Aaron Naughton and the exciting Jaidyn Stephenson were the next highest scorers. Geelong Falcons’ Ethan Floyd, Tom McCartin and Gryan Miers joined Ling in the high scorers showing off the top endurance at the club.

Friday is the final day of the 2017 National Combine, with the 2km time trial to take place in the morning.


20-metre sprint
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 2.87 seconds
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 2.90
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 2.90
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 2.91
Nick Coffield (Vic Metro) 2.91
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 2.95
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 2.95
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 2.95
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 2.95
Nicholas Shipley (Allies) 2.95

Agility test
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 8.10 seconds
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 8.10
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 8.11
Trent Mynott (Vic Metro) 8.20
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 8.21
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 8.22
Mitchell Podhajski (Vic Metro) 8.26
Oscar Allen (Western Australia) 8.27
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 8.29
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 8.30
Callan England (Western Australia) 8.30
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 8.30
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 8.30

Standing vertical jump
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 89cm
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 82cm
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 80cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 79cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 77cm
Jordan Johnston (Vic Country) 75cm
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 74cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 74cm
Adam Sambono (Allies) 73cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 73cm

Running vertical jump
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 103cm – NEW RECORD
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 95cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 95cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 92cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 89cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 88cm
Oscar Allen (Western Ausralia) 88cm
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 88cm
Matthew Day (Vic Metro) 87cm
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 87cm

Yo-Yo test:
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 22.4 level
Dylan Moore (Vic Metro) 22.3
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 21.8
Alex Martini (South Australia) 21.8
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 21.8
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 21.8
Callan England (Western Australia) 21.6
Nick Shipley (Allies) 21.6
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 21.5
Ethan Floyd (Vic Country) 21.5
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 21.5
Cillian McDaid (Ireland) 21.5
Gryan Miers (Vic Country) 21.5