Pioneers captain marks superb return
THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers marked a 109-point victory against Northern Territory Thunder in Sunday's TAC Cup football clash at Queen Elizabeth Oval.
After Thunder's flying start, Bendigo dominated on its home turf to win 23.17 (155) to 7.4 (46).
Northern Territory's young stars shone in the opening term as they scored 3.1 to 2.5.
The Thunder's pace and transition from half-back to attack put Bendigo under pressure.
In the second quarter it was the Pioneers who stamped their authority on the match.
Bendigo's play at stoppages lifted markedly.
Quick transition from packs was rewarded with goals.
Bendigo scored 5.5 to 1.1 in the second term.
The Pioneers had seven goalkickers in the opening half.
Bendigo's run did not let up in the final hour as it slammed on 16.7 to 3.2.
In the third term, Leitchville-Gunbower's Marty Hore showed tremendous courage in a marking duel near centre half-back.
Hore was knocked out in the collision and stretchered off.
A few minutes later and NT scored consecutive goals.
The final quarter was the Pioneers best of the season as they scored 10.6 to nil.
Among the many highs was the goal by Daniel Davie in which his standing shot from near the boundary deep in the pocket on the Rifle Brigade Hotel side of the oval curled through the city end goal.
Pioneers' captain Jake Maher made an amazing return from a lengthy break from injury by booting four goals in a best-on-ground performance.
"Jake was outstanding," said Pioneers' coach David Newett.
"His attack at the ball, ability to win contests on the ground or in the air was superb."
Newett said Thunder's pressure forced some costly errors in the opening term.
"We went in with the aim of quick movement, but at times put team-mates under pressure with some poor handballs or kicks.
"In the second we started to kick the ball longer and hit marking targets, or swooped on the ball at contests."
Newett said the play of Jordan Mangan across half-forward or in the ruck was crucial.
"Jordan always give us a great target up forward and he did really well when he rucked at centre bounces."
Another key contributor to Bendigo's big victory was onballer Jacob Chisari.
A Morrish medallist for TAC Cup best and fairest in 2013 and dual Pioneers club champion, Chisari took control at a lot of stoppages as the game went on.
The Chisari brothers, Jacob and Matthew, and Ryan twins, Josh and Lachlan who all hail from Mildura kicked goals for the Pioneers.