The U15 V/Line Cup (The Old Schools Boys carnival) now follows the end of our Central Vic Academy Program. In June each region brings a team to the regional V/Line trials in Mildura (around 125 boys). Each region in the Pioneers Zone now has their own academy, with five regional academy programs in place across the North West region. These regions include; Sunraysia, Central Murray, Northern Goulburn Murray & Central Vic (who has two academy programs – Bendigo & North Central).
The Mildura Trial Carnival is a three day event, where all teams stay in the same motel. This carnival is both a selection and team building-get to know each other activity for the Pioneers regions talented players. We hold a team dinner with a parent information night involving the Pioneers. Some of the carnival games are played prior to the trip to Mildura (5 teams in all, playing each other once). The squad is narrowed down to around 60 players. After the initial regional academy selection, this is the second selection process for V/Line Cup.
A July training camp is then held in Bendigo for all 60 players. A parent information meeting is held, player testing a La Trobe Uni, educational sessions (on and off field topics relative to young footballers) and a trial game is played. After the camp the square is again narrowed to 49 plus emergencies, this is the third selection for V/Line Cup. After the training camp regional training (Academy programs) re commence for players no longer in finals, and these continue until we depart for Gippsland.
We also conduct a joint training session in Swan Hill the week before departing for the V/Line Cup Carnival. This is our forth selection process for V/Line Cup
The day prior to leaving for the V/Line Cup we conduct our final training (light skills and footy education session). At this point we confirm all players as fit and/or called on emergency players. Emergency players are part of the squad up until this stage, this is the fifth and final selection. A jumper presentation & final parent information session in conjunction with the Youth Girls players, parents and staff follows training. At the conclusion of this session there is a team photos for the boys and girls programs. The Pioneers staff including, talent manager Steve Sharp are involved with this session, as is Regional RGM Paul Hamilton.
Carnival results are not our programs focus, but being competitive as a region and as individuals remain the priority. In 2016 our Div 1 & 2 teams were un-defeated in all four games vs Goulburn Murray & Geelong Falcons.
I would like to thanks the efforts of the Pioneer Zone FDMs – Jamie Macri & Trevor Ryan. Our wonderful coaches – Mark Lloyd, Travis Matheson, Jarrod Skinner and Luke Moodie. Pioneers staff, our fantastic Runners & Trainers. Finally I would like to thanks our wonderful players & parents. Not only have our players represented the region well on the field over the last two year, but off the field behaviour and leadership by the young men has been outstanding.