Bendigo Pioneers Bursary winners awarded

Two talented young footballers and a Physiotherapy student involved with Bendigo Pioneers Football Club have received a special bursary to assist them with their academic studies at La Trobe University.

Drew Ryan, Jed Brereton and Lucy Membrey have all been awarded the Bendigo Pioneers Bursary for 2022, which is funded by the Bendigo Campus and recognises La Trobe students exhibiting academic merit and who are involved or associated with the Bendigo Pioneers. Three $1000 one-off bursaries are awarded each year.

The Bendigo Pioneers women’s and men’s teams compete in the top tier Under 18 Australian Rules Football competition, the NAB League. As part of a formal partnership between the two parties, La Trobe University is the official naming rights partner of the Pioneers, whose teams are based on the Bendigo campus.

Bendigo Pioneers players are supported with leading research into player development and one-to-one support by La Trobe Exercise Science and Physiotherapy students. The Pioneers also benefit from the expertise provided by La Trobe industry PhD candidate, Jake Jennings, who as the club’s Performance Manager is instrumental in preparing the Pioneers’ teams for elite competition.

Pioneers Men’s squad member Brereton, who is studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary), said the bursary would help alleviate some of the financial pressures of moving to Bendigo to live and study on campus.

“My Year 12 studies, commitment to the Bendigo Pioneers and COVID-19 have all interrupted and impaired my ability to work over the past two years, and thus living on campus is an additional cost to my family who are already assisting my older sister with her studies at La Trobe University,” Brereton said.

“The Bendigo Pioneers Bursary will be extremely beneficial in assisting myself and my family with the commencement of my studies at La Trobe University because of the expenses I will incur with moving away from home for the first time.”

Membrey, who is studying a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Physiotherapy Practice and is also a member of the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP), is one of two sports trainers involved with the Pioneers. Membrey says the opportunity to work with the Pioneers’ physiotherapist and exercise physiologist has proven to be beneficial not only for her academic studies, but also with balancing her own sporting career as an elite level gymnast.

“This bursary will aid me in continuing to train as a high-performance athlete, while simultaneously studying full time and working casually,” Membrey said.

“The idea of working with like-minded physiotherapists who share the same passion of top-level sport, injury prevention and recovery is a dream of mine.

“I believe having the adequate knowledge to provide health guidance to athletes at the elite level is key to succeeding in the sporting industry. By also having my own experience as a high-level athlete, it will allow me to relate to the athletes on another level, which ultimately permits me to lead their recovery effectively and efficiently.”

For more information on the Bendigo Pioneers partnership and La Trobe University’s other partnerships in the sports industry, visit the La Trobe Sport website.