BENDIGO interleague coach Brett Fitzpatrick has again prioritised mobility and versatility in naming his squad to travel to Warrnambool for the 2018 AFL Victoria Community Championships campaign.
The BFNL named a training squad of 37 on Wednesday that will be trimmed down to fill the final squad of 23 that will run out onto Reid Park in Warrnambool on May 19.
The striking element of the lineup was again its youth after Bendigo blooded several debutants last year against Ballarat.
Experienced names such as Jack Geary and Matt Thornton are both in the side, but the likes of key position players Matt Gretgrix, Tim Hill, Dylan Johnstone, Tim Martin, Travis Baird and Brayden Dorrington are among the regulars who have missed out through injury and form.
That leaves a young quartet of ruckmen who would all be debutants – South Bendigo’s Kieran Strachan and Callum Crisp, Strathfieldsaye big man Harry Crone and Golden Square standout Matt Compston.
Youngsters Jake Moorhead, Kalan Huntly, Coby Perry and Isaiah Miller have all been named after impressive performances in recent seasons for Bendigo.
Recruits Dylan Atkins (Castlemaine), Jack Fallon (Eaglehawk), Quade Johnstone and Crisp (South Bendigo) and Daniel Connors (Sandhurst) are the new faces to be included.
A total of 18 of the 37 players picked would be first-timers. Every club is represented in the squad, with Strathfieldsaye’s seven players named leading the way.
Despite the youth, Fitzpatrick can still lean on experienced names such as Eaglehawk coach Josh Bowe and defender Tyler Miles, Geary, Sandhurst’s Lee Coghlan and Andrew Collins and reigning Ron Best and Michelsen Medal winner Lachlan Sharp.
Fitzpatrick is in his third year coaching the squad, having won at Gippsland in 2016 before going down to Ballarat last year.
He will be assisted by Strathfieldsaye premiership coach Darryl Wilson, former Eaglehawk coach Luke Monaghan and Kangaroo Flat co-coach Shawn Filo.
The team will train at Castlemaine next Wednesday before sessions the following Tuesday and Thursday.
The full BFNL squad: Dylan Atkins, Kalan Huntly (Castlemaine), Josh Bowe, Brodie Collins, Jesse Collins, Jack Fallon, Tyler Miles, Ben McPhee (Eaglehawk), Jack Reaper (Gisborne), Adam Baird, Jayden Burke, Matt Compston, Jack Geary, Hamish Morcom, Jake Thrum (Golden Square), Jono Lanyon (Kangaroo Flat), Rhys Magin, Pat McCarthy, Max O’Sullivan (Kyneton), Coby Perry (Maryborough), Lee Coghlan, Andrew Collins, Daniel Connors, Codie Price, Matt Thornton (Sandhurst), Kaiden Antonowicz, Quade Johnstone, Callum Crisp, Kieran Strachan, Isaiah Miller (South Bendigo), Harry Crone, Josh Formosa, Trent Donnan, Sam Heavyside, Lachlan Sharp, Jamieson Sheahan, Jake Moorhead (Strathfieldsaye).
– Joel Peterson