Penaltys costly for Pioneers
THE Bendigo Pioneers crashed to a hat-trick of defeats in the TAC Cup under-18s action as Northern Knights won Saturday’s match at Preston by 21 points.
Although they won inside 50m tally, 55-45, Bendigo did not capitalise on enough opportunities as the Knights won 13.15 (93) to 10.12 (72).
Northern had first use of a strong breeze and led 5.6 (36) to 2.2 (14) at quarter-time.
The first goal of the contest took less than 10 seconds after Jungala Ellis marked the first kick of the match from the centre clearance.
The pacy Joel Helman evaded a couple of opponents and kicked Bendigo’s first goal on the run.
Although the Knights did most of the attacking, Bendigo did well to be within 13 points after Helman’s second goal.
The first of the 50m penalties ended with a Matthew Haymes goal, the first of his three goals for the black and white.
A brilliant kick by Jaden McGrath into the forward 50m ended with Harry O’Meara being on the end of a chain of handpasses to goal.
Jake Maher gathered the ball from a boundary throw-in and his snap went through for Bendigo to be within 14 points near half-time.
Northern began the third term with consecutive goals before Helman was freed in a marking contest and booted his third goal.
A Billy Evans goal capped excellent run and teamwork by the Pioneers down the outer wing.
The Knights ended the quarter with back-to-back goals to lead 80-44 at the last change.
McGrath’s goal in the early minutes was followed by Trent Bacon’s kick from the 50m arc to put Bendigo within 24 points.
Again it was the Northern Knights who responded through goals by Jake Kalanj and Ned McKeown to lead 93-59.
Liam Barrett’s kick went more than 60m to captain Jacob Chisari to handpass to the unmarked Harry Conway for another Bendigo Pioneers goal.
Chisari roved a boundary throw-in and goaled.
Pioneers coach David Newett said this loss was far more frustrating than the 104-point defeat in the previous round to Gippsland Power.
“Silly free kicks, turnovers, and a drop in workrate in each quarter really cost us today,” Newett said.
“We had 10 more inside 50m, but only had seven marks in attack.
Newett said a positive was the return of Sam Heavyside, who played his first TAC Cup match since late May, 2012, and racked up more than 30 possessions.
Lalbert’s Jake Maher, key defender Josh Ryan from South Mildura, Kyabram’s Liam Barrett at half-back, and Helman from the Leitchville-Gunbower Bombers were among the Pioneers best.