Pioneers raise pressure for Knights fight

THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers will aim to raise the pressure in Saturday's TAC Cup football clash with Northern Knights.

After achieving a 1-1 record in their past two matches in Bendigo, the Pioneers are on the road to the Cramer Street ground in Preston.

Pioneers coach David Newett said the number and intensity of the team's tackling was a major goal leading into the round five clash.

"We need to get back to the level of defensive efforts and pressure we had in the win against North Ballarat.

"It's not just about using the ball efficiently when we have it, but also working even harder to force turnovers when Northern is in control of the play."

The Pioneers regain key forward Arnold Kirby from Swan Hill and Kerang midfielder Jaden McGrath for this contest.

"Arnold adds to our goalscoring power, and Jaden has a lot of pace and skill," Newett said.

The versatile Jordan Mangan from Kyneton was named at centre half-back alongisde Tigers' clubmate Daniel Davie and Strathfieldsaye Storm's Harry Conway.

Bendigo's key defenders face a big task against the likes of Kyle Langford, five goals last round, and the 196cm Reece McKenzie.

The consistent Billy Evans will play a key role for Bendigo in the centre as he teams with captain Jake Maher, Liam Barrett and Marty Hore.

"It's important we get hands on the footy first and be in control of the play for as long as we can," Newett said.

Saturday's match starts at 1pm at Preston.  

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