Rebels hold out Pioneers in Thriller

THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers were beaten by the North Ballarat Rebels in the clash of the goldfields in Saturday’s AFL Victoria TAC Cup action in Ballarat.

The Pioneers run included a fine shot by Golden Square’s Regan Harvey on the run in the scoreboard pocket.

Sandhurst’s Isaiah Miller charged from half-back many times and was on the end of a chip pass from South Mildura’s Jacob Chisari to kick the team’s second goal.

A Harvey tackle on the social rooms wing set up one of Bendigo’s best goals as Lockington-Bamawm’s Trent Bacon swooped on the loose ball and kicked to Kyneton’s Brandon Spourr, who in turn handballed to Leitchville-Gunbower’s Joel Helman in the clear.

Helman’s game was over shortly after when he injured an ankle.

After such an encouraging start, Bendigo’s second quarter was a huge letdown as the Rebels ran free, broke tackles and capitalised on turnovers to score 4.3 to 0.2.

The Rebels run included Dallas Willsmore finishing the half with three goals and a 25-point lead by half-time.

Bendigo’s intensity and play lifted markedly in the third quarter.

Strathfieldsaye’s Fergus Payne goaled after being freed in a marking contest, and Sandhurst’s Billy Evans was on target shortly after to cut the margin to 13 points in the ninth minute.

The Rebels sole goal of the term was kicked by Lachlan Cassidy.

Bendigo’s run and link from half-back set up many chances.

Harvey kicked his second major which capped off a fine run by Sandhurst’s Harry O’Meara through the centre and clubmate Alex Hywood being on the end of flukey bounce after Payne’s kick and getting the ball to Harvey who was metres in the clear.

Bendigo was back within five points at a quarter to go.

The Rebels were up by 11 in the second minute after Louis Herbert was rewarded for a strong tackle in the pocket.

South Bendigo’s Blake Poyser and captain Chisari combined at a ball-up from which Kyneton’s Jordan Mangan took a strong mark and goaled.

The Pioneers were in front in the 10th minute after Hywood marked Lachlan Ryan’s long kick.

North Ballarat hit back as Daniel Bell goaled on the run.

Chisari eluded some opponents and goaled to put Bendigo within five points in the 22nd minute.

The Rebels won the next centre clearance and surged into attack from where Willsmore’s poster was to the final score of the contest. 

Pioneers coach David Newett said the second quarter fade-out proved costly.

“Poor discipline really cost us,” Newett said of the Rebels being able to gain a four-goal lead.

“Workrate really lifted in the third quarter and we did well to get back into a position to win.”

Newett said as bitterly disappointing as the second term was, the fightback was encouraging.

“In the second quarter we were well beaten at stoppages, gave the opposition too much space, and just didn’t win enough contests.

“The next quarter was a much greater effort in so many ways,” Newett said of a comeback led by the likes of Miller, Chisari, Liam Byrne, Payne and Mangan.

“Next Saturday’s match against the Bushrangers is a huge challenge,” Newett said of another home game at the QEO. 


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