So here is some more information for you "pun-dits" to assimilate.
Ben McNiece becomes fourth Preston Bullants junior to graduate to AFL ranks after earning rookie chance with Essendon
Tim Michell, Preston Leader
December 1, 2016 9:43am
DENNIS McNiece and Russell Lambert were on to something when they started the Preston Bullants Junior Football Club.
Their sons Ben and Kane featured in the same Bullants’ side and were among the first players to reach 100 games for Preston.
They have since taken similar paths in pursuit of their AFL dreams.
Lambert toiled away in the VFL for Northern Blues and Williamstown before earning an AFL opportunity at Richmond.
McNiece has spent the past two years with Essendon VFL, establishing himself as one of the competition’s premier small defenders.
“He played junior footy with Kane Lambert who’s at Richmond and Adam Marcon who was a rookie last season,” Dennis said.
“Kane’s dad Russell and myself started the club, we were founding members.”
The Bombers have rewarded McNiece’s consistency over 30 VFL games by naming him as their inaugural Next Generation Academy player.
The 24-year-old was eligible to be listed as a Category B rookie as his mother Christine was born in India.
“I had known that rookie spot could be used, but not whether they were going to use it on Ben or not,” Dennis said.
“We were over the moon.”
McNiece and Lambert also played junior football with Adam Marcon, who played two AFL matches for Richmond this year.
McNiece has also featured in 87 senior games for Northern Football League outfit Northcote Park, where Dennis is general manager.
“He has worked pretty hard, he’s been at the VFL now two years,” Dennis said.
“He got best first-year player, was named vice-captain and he got third best-and-fairest.
“He does train very hard and has worked pretty hard to get where he has.”
Ben, who will give up his job as a project manager to join Essendon fulltime, said he was thrilled to be given a senior opportunity by the Bombers.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for me to realise my dream of playing senior football, and to be able to do what I love on a fulltime basis is a huge honour,” Ben said.
Essendon VFL coach Paul Corrigan said McNiece’s determination over the past two years had been worthy of a promotion to the club’s senior list.
Several Preston Bullants’ VAFA premiership players also started their careers at the club’s junior affiliate, which has produced four AFL players.
Former Western Bulldogs forward Tom Hill also came through the ranks at Preston.