Clubs in seventh heaven

January 03, 2018

BENDIGO Pioneers-listed players could be available for as many as seven games with their home clubs in 2018.

Released Friday, the 2018 TAC Cup fixture features six weeks without games as well as a split round, meaning if players are given the green light by the Pioneers, they could be semi-regular fixtures in the senior sides.

It could be a boost for clubs like Echuca, who despite six TAC Cup weekends in 2017 got just seven combined senior games from Pioneers’ regulars Jobee Warde, Mitch Kemp and Darby Henderson.

The other highlight from the fixture was the introduction of a Wildcard Round before finals.

Essentially, each of the 12 teams will play post-season football, each getting a chance to win its way into the regular final eight.

The top four teams will have a bye that weekend, with 5th v 12th, 6th v 11th, 7th v 10th and 8th v 9th to play for finals positions.

Round one is on March 24, with the grand final pencilled in for the weekend of September 22-23.

The 2018 TAC Cup Girls fixture was also released, with the competition expanding from five rounds in 2017 to nine.

It contains two byes, with the season kicking off on March 3 and wrapping up with the grand final on the weekend of May 19-20.

It will be the first ever Girls grand final with this year’s competition a round robin format with no finals.

Echuca’s Aisha Kirchoffer played for the Pioneers in 2017 at the under 18 level, while Sharmaine Reilly, Ash Kelly, Nikita Meloury and Olivia Taverna are future prospects after playing for the under 16 side.

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