By JESS WEBSTER
Aspley Hornets’ Tasmanian contingent will continue to grow in 2018, with young gun Brandon Batchelor headlining four talented players joining the club.
The Kingborough Tigers vice-captain will make the move north alongside Under-18s Allies squad member Zac Buechner and Glenorchy duo Harrison Pearce and Jordan Arnold.
A member of the Tasmanian representative team in 2016, Batchelor, 20, is keen to take his football to new heights in the NEAFL in the hopes of furthering his AFL dream.
The prospect of travelling in a semi-professional environment and playing against four AFL clubs sealed the deal for his recruitment.
“It came about with wanting to continue on that AFL pathway,” Batchelor told neafl.com.au.
“The chance to come up to the NEAFL with Aspley was a pretty exciting prospect, with the idea of being under the nose of four AFL clubs.
“I had a few talks with a few SANFL clubs and a WAFL club, but it was the effort that Aspley put in to get me on board – they were really keen and it seemed liked a welcoming environment, so it was a bit of a no-brainer in the end.”
The foursome will add to the recruitments of Jordan Hayden and Daniel Joseph this year, who slotted into Aspley’s line-up seamlessly.
Hayden was a member of the initial NEAFL representative squad, while Joseph won the Hornets’ Carl Herbert Medal as well as an invite to the AFL’s ‘Rookie Me’ Combine.
Batchelor said he is looking forward to settling in to the side and is excited at the challenges which lie ahead.
“That was the secondary reason I wanted to come up, was having people at Aspley that I already know. It will make the transition to a new club a lot easier,” he said.
“That (travelling) is a bit of a unique situation, whereas in Tasmania you’re only travel is on a bus. I see it as a new environment, a new league, and it will really consolidate where I want to go with footy.”
Buechner, 19, is a tall key position player (192cm, 90kgs) with plenty of senior football under his belt, having debuted for Clarence as a 16-year-old in 2015.
Pearce also came through Tasmania’s under-18s program and was named in the initial Allies squad, alongside 19-year-old Arnold, who has made his name as a rebounding half-back.
Batchelor is looking forward to playing alongside this group of young talent, who he says will add plenty of dynamic to the Hornets.
“All of the players are young, so a bit of youth and excitement around the club will be really good,” he said.
“A lot of them are quick players, so a bit of pace and a bit of good footwork will go a long way in this league I think.”
In addition to the four new faces from Tasmania, Aspley has also confirmed the signing of St Albans small forward Billy Beardsell – a Geelong Football League Rookie of the Year winner in 2015 and former Under-16s All Australian – and former Albury premiership player Lonnie Hampton.
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