Three Calder Cannons players drafted

Matthew Allison. Picture AFL Photos

Tara Murray

Two diehard Bombers supporters have ended up at Essendon as three Calder Cannons players found homes on AFL lists.

Josh Eyre and Cody Brand found their way to Essendon, which they already had links with, while Matthew Allison joins St Kilda.

Allison was the first Cannon drafted, with the Saints taking him at pick 26, their first pick in the draft.

Speaking before the draft, Allison said he had put in a lot of work throughout the pre-season and during lockdown to try and make an impact.

Among those to call Allison on draft night was St Kilda coach Brett Ratten.

In vision shown by St Kilda, Allison, who played for Strathmore, couldn’t get the smile off his face.

St Kilda head of list management James Gallagher said: “Matthew is a mobile forward who can also play down back. He’s a good kick and athletic and has great running capacity”.

Eyre and Brand, who were both Next Generation Academy [NGA] members with the Bombers, had a few nervous moments when opposition club’s selected them.

Richmond picked Eyre at pick 39, which the Bombers quickly matched.

From Kilmore, Eyre is a key forward who grew up a Bombers supporter idolising Matthew Lloyd and basing his game off Joe Daniher.

Bombers list manager Adrian Dodoro said they knew there was interest in both Eyre and Brand.

“When he [Eyre] was bidded by Richmond, it was incumbent on us to keep him at our footy club.

“We couldn’t let him slip through and he’s a really good talent, he is going to excite our fans for many years to come.”

Brand had a few nervous moments when his name was called out at pick 53.

The Western Bulldogs selected Brand, and after what seemed like an eternity, it was announced the Bombers had matched the bid for the defender.

Speaking before the draft, Brand, who played for the Sunbury Lions, said playing for the Bombers would be a dream come true.

“I grew up supporting Essendon and we’re an Essendon family through dad’s bloodline,” he said.“It would honestly be a dream come true to play for the Bombers… But I’m open to any club.

“Anywhere would be a dream come true for me to play the sport I love, and do it professionally at the highest level.

“I dreamt about it as a little kid running around the backyard.”

Brand, a key defender, models his game on his mentor and Essendon legend Dustin Fletcher.

Dodoro said Brand was the best Vic metro defender in the draft.

“Cody is one of those guys who has amazing athleticism,” he said.

“He could play on a wing, half back, half forward, pinch hit in the ruck, again too exciting to let go.”