A group of 10 talented Deni Rams juniors have been invited to train with the Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup squad, following an extension of the side’s zone to Deniliquin.
Sid Pearn, Lachie Trotman and Sam Willoughby have all been selected as top age talent for the Under 18 squad, while John Bowie, Ryan MacDonald, Jake McManus, Darcy Morris, Will Shaw and Cooper Wallace were selected as bottom age talent for the U-18 squad.
Also selected to attend the six week training program was Harry Hiller, who will attempt to earn a spot in the U-16s’ final squad.
Fellow TAC Cup side Murray Bushrangers will also still have Deniliquin in its zone, giving local footballers the choice to join either the Pioneers or the Bushies.
The decision for the Bendigo based side to extend their zone to Deniliquin was a simple one for Pioneers talent manager Steve Sharpe.
‘‘I approached AFL Victoria a couple of months ago about letting us have access to Deni talent,’’ he said.
‘‘It seemed strange to me that we had Hay and Echuca/Moama in our program but not Deni.
‘‘When we put the proposal in to AFL Victoria we explained that it would be easier for parents and kids to travel to Bendigo from Deni, where they can car pool with players from Echuca/Moama, rather than them having to travel to Wangaratta alone.
‘‘We didn’t want to step on the Bushrangers’ toes, but it was all about giving these young footballers another option.
‘‘The Bushies have already selected their squad so for us to be able to invite these 10 players to come down and try out is fantastic for them.
‘‘We believe that the decision is a positive thing for the Deniliquin community.’’