THE Bendigo Pioneers have notched their first victory of the TAC Cup season, winning Sunday’s clash against the Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 12 points.
The Pioneers kicked nine goals to four after half-time to win 16.12 (108) to 14.12 (96) at Ballarat’s Alfredton Recreation Reserve and square their ledger at 1-1.
“Ballarat certainly took it up to us and outplayed us in the first half, but to the boys’ credit, they got going after half-time, spread a lot better, set up around the contest a lot better and we were able to get more supply down to our forward line,” Pioneers coach Rick Coburn said.
The Pioneers assumed control in the third quarter.
The Rebels – formerly North Ballarat – had led by 18 points at half-time, 10.5 to 7.5, before the Pioneers added 5.5 to 0.4 in the third term to build a 13-point advantage.
“There was a bit of breeze going our way in the third quarter and we were able to capitalise on that,” Coburn said.
“The boys were able to get first hands on the ball, which they had been for a lot of the game, but they were a lot cleaner and the game opened up, which was to our advantage.”
The game was played with plenty of intensity that typified the Bendigo-Ballarat sporting rivalry.
“It was a fairly bruising encounter. We had three or four boys come off with the blood rule at stages,” Coburn said.
“There was a fair bit of heat on the pill, which TAC Cup isn’t always known for, but both sides were certainly having a crack.”
The best player for the Pioneers was Paddy Dow.
“Paddy was sensational today. He just knows how to find the footy and plays really well around the contested situation, particularly stoppages,” Coburn said.
Brent Daniels was lively up forward, booting four goals.
“He was our key forward today at five-foot-one. He’s a pocket rocket, very powerful and marks really well for a smaller player.”
Bailey Henderson (two goals) and Jye Caldwell (one goal) also led the way for the Pioneers, who as well as Daniels’ four goals had Lewin Davis chip in with three.
The Pioneers will play their first game of the season at the QEO from 10am next Saturday against the Gippsland Power.
Bendigo Pioneers 3.2 7.5 12.10 16.12 (108) d Greater Western Victoria Rebels 2.3 10.5 10.9 14.12 (96).
Goals – Bendigo Pioneers: Daniels 4, Davis 3, Wallace 2, B. Henderson 2, O'Brien 2, Caldwell, Farrell, Harvey. GWV Rebels: Domic 2, Cox 2, Gray, Wilson, Berry, Shepherd, Wareham, Wheeler, Reed, Harvey, Meek, Chatfield.
Best – Bendigo Pioneers: Dow, Daniels, B. Henderson, Caldwell, Sheahan, O'Brien. GWV Rebels: Wellings, Berry, Reed, Meek, Domic, Lloyd.