Pioneers in Cliffhanger Defeat - After the Siren Goal
A GOAL from a free kick awarded in the final second denied the Bendigo Pioneers victory in the TAC Cup under-18s football clash with Queensland on Saturday at Collingwood’s Victoria Park. The Pioneers took the lead after Moama’s Christian Burgess was on target from a set-shot at 34 seconds to go. Queensland won the ensuing centre break and forced the ball deep into attack. As players jostled for possession in the pocket, the umpire called “too high” just before the siren sounded. From less than 25 metres, Daniel Brown’s kick just tumbled over the line and Queensland celebrated a hard-fought 11.7 (73) to 10.10 (70) victory. Bendigo Pioneers’ coach David Newett said the defeat was the club’s “most agonising” of its five losses this season. After almost two hours of battle the contest was decided in a frenetic last 30 seconds. Newett said skill errors and poor choices had put the Pioneers under pressure as Queensland went to a 26-point lead by half-time. “We made a lot of mistakes, especially in the first quarter when we weren’t under a lot of pressure,” said Newett. “Some poor decisions as to where we kicked the ball and a 50m penalty ended in a couple of easy goals for Queensland.” The Pioneers were first to goal when Blake O’Halloran soccered the ball from near the pocket. Queensland’s first goal was answered when Sam Heavyside was caught high and goaled. The Maroons’ attack on the contest lifted markedly in the second and they led 34-16 in the 13th minute. Mildura’s Nick Mee goaled on the run after he swooped on the ball after it flew off the hands of three Queensland players in a pack. Queensland goaled twice in time-on to cap a fine first hour. Pioneers captain Oliver Wines led the fightback. The Echuca-based onballer goaled in the 11th minute and shortly after Mildura’s Jacob Chisari was on target after marking a pass from Woorinen’s Codie Price from deep in the pocket. Wines marked a pass from Leitchville-Gunbower’s Joel Donehue and kicked his second. The persistence of Strathfieldsaye’s Vin Flood to win possession was capped by Wines’ third goal in the 21st minute which put the Pioneers in front. After being outplayed for most of the term, Queensland regained the lead when Andrew Boston marked just before the siren. The Maroons’ started the last with goals by the classy Daniel Brown on the run and then another by Jordan Bourke after he marked falling to the ground. Despite the 16-point deficit, Bendigo never gave up. Sandhurst’s Harry O’Meara roved a contest and his right-foot snap went through. Chisari was freed at the centre bounce and O’Halloran’s strong mark was followed by his second goal. One of several in their TAC Cup debut, Mildura’s Peter Cua kicked long from half-forward where Burgess marked and goaled to put the Pioneers back in front. But there was another twist. As he refelcted on the match, Newett said a positive sign was the team’s fightback. “Skill errors really hurt us in the first half. In the second we lifted our workrate at every contest and started to link up a lot better. “Ollie Wines is such a fierce competitor and inspires team-mates,” Newett said. Kyneton ruckman Jordan Mangan capped his TAC Cup debut by winning many hit-outs and took several contested marks. Newett said Flood’s never-give-up attitude was superb, while Donehue, Isaiah Miller and Nathan Moffat set up a lot of rebounding from defence. The Pioneers tackle Eastern Ranges this Saturday in their first home game at Epsom Huntly this season.