Bendigo Pioneers outgun Calder Cannons

THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers outgunned Calder Cannons in Saturday’s ninth round of the AFL Victoria TAC Cup under-18s season.

Strathfieldsaye Storm midfielder Sam Heavyside marked one of his best matches of the year as he racked up more than 40 possessions in a best-on-ground peformance at the QEO.

Heavyside had plenty of support from the likes of captain and South Mildura gun Jacob Chisari, Sandhurst’s Harry O’Meara and Lalbert’s Jake Maher.

A determined defence was led by Strathfieldsaye’s Danny Jones, while South Bendigo’s Blake O’Halloran finished with a game-high three goals.

The Pioneers seized control of the contest in the second term as they added 4.5 to nil for a 27-point lead at half-time.

Strong defence right across the field limited Calder to a goal in the third term before Bendigo won a high-scoring final quarter, 27-21, and the match, 89-52. 

Pioneers coach David Newett said the 37-point victory was “great reward” for the effort the squad had put in, not just in Saturday’s match, but in the past month.

Although they played into the breeze in the first quarter, the Pioneers scored three goals at the  city end.

“Making a better start to the match was something we had focused on,” Newett said.

“We controlled a lot of the play through the midfield and took some risks in terms of switching play and trying to work the footy to a team-mate in the clear.”

Newett said a key factor in the second quarter was Bendigo’s pressure around the contest.

“In the first quarter Calder was able to switch from half-back to half-forward really quickly and hit some of their big-marking forwards on the lead.

“The pressure on the ball-carrier and opponents kicking into attack was much higher in the second and meant the Cannons didn’t take as many marks.”

At the other end of the field, Pioneers key forwards O’Halloran, Matthew Rix and Kyneton’s Daniel Davie started to win the aerial duels.

“By the end of the match we had taken 10 contested marks inside forward 50,” said Newett.

“It was great our forwards were able to win as many contests as they did.”

In defence, Jones played his best game of the year.

“Danny’s spoiling and rebound play was excellent.

“He and Josh Ryan have become really strong in defence as the season has gone.

“They compete so well and are improving with every game.

“As a coaching group it’s great to see young players adapt to different roles and thrive on the challenge.

“Josh Ryan had never played in defence before this season,” he said of the 17-year-old from South Mildura.

The Pioneers also had O’Meara, who usually plays wing or half-forward, be just as damaging with his pace and precise kicking from the half-back line.

This Saturday the Pioneers head west to play North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium from noon.





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