Pioneers play mix of good, bad and the ugly

LEAP: Dan Davie from Kyneton soars to take this mark in the Bendigo Bank Pioneers clash with Eastern Ranges at Epsom-Huntly. Picture: LIZ FLEMING

LEAP: Dan Davie from Kyneton soars to take this mark in the Bendigo Bank Pioneers clash with Eastern Ranges at Epsom-Huntly. Picture: LIZ FLEMING

Pictures: Bendigo Pioneers tackle Eastern Ranges

THE good, bad and ugly summed up the Bendigo Bank Pioneers performance in Saturday's TAC Cup football clash with Eastern Ranges at Epsom-Huntly Reserve.

Eastern led 41-2 after it scored six unanswered goals on the Pioneers turf.

A long shot by Golden Square's Sam Harper from near the 50m arc was one of few highlights in a second quarter where Eastern won the inside 50m tally, 19-4.

Rhys Free from the Cohuna Kangas earned a free kick and goaled  in the 24th minute of the second quarter.

Faced with a 39-point deficit at the start of the third quarter, Bendigo fought back brilliantly.

Kyneton's Daniel Davie goaled on the run as the Pioneers began to dictate play.

South Bendigo's Blake Poyser was on target on the run and South Mildura's Jacob Chisari was on the end of a chain of handpasses and goaled to make it 56-34 in the 16th minute.

Eastern replied quickly and led 62-36 at a quarter to go.

The Pioneers made a great start to the last term as Davie showed great strength to fend off an opponent, gather the ball and goal.

Eastern's Ryan Harvey kicked a great goal on the run from a tight angle.

The Pioneers' pressure in attack forward an errant which was marked by South Mildura's Lachlan Ryan to kick the team's seventh goal.

From then on it was Eastern which wrested control through midfield and scored three unanswered goals to seal an 89-50 victory and stay right in the race to make the top eight.

Pioneers' coach David Newett said the start and finish to the match was disappointing.

"We just did not bring enough intensity and competitive spirit from the get-go," Newett said.

"Eastern was first-in at a lot of contests and had the game on its terms.

"For whatever reason we were hesitant just too much in the first half."

Eastern's key targets took control in the second term as the midfield continually pumped the ball forward.

"At half-time we spoke about lifting our intensity and winning a lot more one-on-contests," Newett said.

"The third quarter was one of the best we have played all season.

"Instead of waiting it was the Pioneers who cracked in, won the footy and put the Ranges under pressure," Newett said of a fightback led by the likes of Tommy Cole, Jacob Chisari, Lachlan Tardrew and Jake Maher.

Support for team-mates through blocks, shepherds meant the Pioneers were able to string a lot more passes from defence to attack.

The Pioneers in this best included Harry Conway and Dylan Hanley in defence, versatile big men Dan Davie and Jordan Mangan, and onballers Tommy Cole and Lachlan Tardrew. 

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