Sport

Inaugural GVBBL draft sets franchise squads up for success

By Tyler Maher

The inaugural Crane Aid Goulburn Valley Bush Bash League draft was held yesterday at Shepparton's Sherbourne Terrace Hotel, with all four franchises compiling stellar lists ahead of the beginning of the fledgling competition early in the new year.

And, while there may not have been any live pick trading at the GVBBL edition of the draft as fans would have seen at the AFL version last week, there was still plenty of by-play between list managers throughout the rounds as the stars were snaffled up at a lightning pace.

The Cobram Panel Works Panthers had the honour of calling out the first ever GVBBL draft selection, snaring Essendon premier cricketer Isaac Willett with the coveted pick.

Kyle Mueller was the second cab off the rank, drafted to the Kyabram-based Hurley's Hotel Hounds by his Redbacks teammate Paul Newman before the Jarvis Delahey Crushers pulled the first swifty of the event.

With the SRP Mud Dogs waiting in the wings at selection number four, Chris Keady and Paul Trevaskis swooped on Ramadan Yze to lead the way for the Crushers.

Rohan Larkin and Bryan Doyle doubled down with fellow Central Park-St Brendan's stalwart Brendan Scott instead with their first pick, completing the first round of proceedings.

It seemed the Crushers were on the money again early in the third round when an audible groan arose from the direction of the Panthers’ table following Katamatite batsman Ash Saunders’ selection, with the big-hitter clearly occupying the next slot in coach Matt Jaensch's draft order.

But with West Indian import Romario Greaves — who is currently playing in Albury-Wodonga — heading the way of the Panthers it certainly served to quickly salve the wound.

The big names kept coming across the 48 selections of the draft, with eventual representation from the Bendigo, Goulburn Murray, Murray Valley, Albury-Wodonga and Victorian Premier Cricket ranks as well as a healthy Cricket Shepparton contingent involved in proceedings.

GVBBL action begins on January 12 at Barooga Recreation Reserve and, when marquee signings are added to the draft hauls of each franchise, the standard of the competition is expected to be superb.

The Panthers — already with master-blaster Wian Van Zyl and Zimbabwean international Tarisai Musakanda on board — have compiled a damaging top-order to say the least.

Along with the class of Willett the likes of Adam De Cicco, Michael Eckard, Kyle Humphrys and Riley Gow will swing the willow hard, while Greaves and Jordan Cleeland will be among the spearheads of the bowling attack.

The Hounds made a clear play for swashbuckling stars who can clear the rope, with the likes of Mueller, Jedd Wright, Brenton Campbell, Michael Archer, Lewis Rankin and Matt Dwyer set to complement captain David Newman and marquees Tom Donnell and James Nanopoulos expertly.

Although the clear directive from coach Newman was to worry about posting an imposing total rather than taking 10 wickets every match, in Jackson McLay the Hounds have one of the best new-ball bowlers in the region at their disposal.

A distinct all-round flavour permeates the squads of the Crushers and Mud Dogs, with most members of the franchises expected to contribute heavily in all aspects of the game.

Top-order batting looks to be a cornerstone for the Crushers with openers Dylan Grandell, Connor Holland and Mitch McGrath among the squad, while the likes of Yze, Andrew Riordan, Saunders, Corey Hickford and Luke Patel head a long list of genuine match-winners for the outfit alongside marquee signing Josh McDonald.

The Mud Dogs selected plenty of familiar Central Park-St Brendan's faces after taking Scott with their first pick — including brothers Layton and Alistair McCann to go along with captain Mitch and marquee Hamish Winter-Irving — but filled the spots around them with fellow guns of the region like Joel Brett, Scott Richardson, Keegan Armstrong and Hadleigh Sirett.

GOULBURN VALLEY BUSH BASH LEAGUE FRANCHISE DRAFT HAULS

Cobram Panel Works Panthers

1. Isaac Willett

8. Adam De Cicco

11. Romario Greaves

14. Michael Eckard

17. Kyle Humphrys

24. Luke Quinn

27. Riley Gow

30. James Tierney

33. Ben Fulford

40. Lachlan McMillan

43. Jordan Cleeland

46. Saranjit Kalsi

Hurley's Hotel Hounds

2. Kyle Mueller

5. Jedd Wright

12. Brenton Campbell

15. Gino Saracino

18. Lewis Rankin

21. Darin Ohlsen

28. Jackson McLay

31. Matt Dwyer

34. Michael Archer

37. Matt Hinks

44. Jake Gascoyne

47. Luke Forge

Jarvis Delahey Crushers

3. Ramadan Yze

6. Andrew Riordan

9. Ash Saunders

16. Corey Hickford

19. Ash Quinn

22. Dwain Vidler

25. Connor Holland

32. Dylan Grandell

35. Sam Dorsey

38. Chaminda Vidanapathirana

41. Mitch McGrath

48. Luke Patel

SRP Mud Dogs

4. Brendan Scott

7. Joel Brett

10. Keegan Armstrong

13. Hadleigh Sirett

20. Layton McCann

23. Scott Richardson

26. Alistair McCann

29. Xavier Chalkley

36. Cade Mueller

39. Liam Smith

42. Liam Hockey

45. Pat Cormican