Pioneers tackle Stingrays at Dandenong

MIDFIELD STAR: Billy Evans is back in the Bendigo Pioneers line-up after a successful campaign with Victoria Country at the AFL national under-18 championship series.

MIDFIELD STAR: Billy Evans is back in the Bendigo Pioneers line-up after a successful campaign with Victoria Country at the AFL national under-18 championship series.

THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers face another daunting task in Saturday's TAC Cup football clash with the fourth-placed Stingrays at Dandenong.

The Stingrays are almost at full-strength as they regain players from Victoria Country's campaign in the AFL national under-18 championships.

A huge plus for Bendigo is the return of gun midfielder and Victoria Country representative Billy Evans.

Newbridge ruckman Connor Toohey, Maryborough defender-midfielder Bailey Edwards, and Rochester's Jed Brain are in the Pioneers line-up for the round 14 clash at Shepley Oval.

Pioneers' coach David Newett said a key would be capitalising on scoring chances.

"Our effort was great last week against Sandringham, but we just didn't make enough of the forward 50m entries," Newett said.

"It's important we start this match well.

"Conditions are likely to be wet and windy, so we don't want to allow Dandenong to gain too big a lead.

"Playing catch-up footy is really taxing, mentally and physically," he said of Bendigo's recent hit-outs.

Newett said Evans will bolster Bendigo's midfield.

"Billy has had a great season with the Pioneers and for Victoria Country.

"He is capable of winning a lot of possessions at centre contests and stoppages.

"But we just cannot expect Billy to do it all," Newett said.

"It's important all of our onballers and midfielders work hard on defensive pressure, but also have an attacking mindset when we have possession."

Bendigo and Dandenong do battle from 1pm.

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