THE Rural Bank Bendigo Pioneers return to the Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday in pursuit of their third TAC Cup win of the season.
The Pioneers take on the Western Jets in round eight, with both teams going into the clash with 2-5 records.
“We go into every game trying to set four or five really clear success indicators and if we can get that right, we’ve proven this year we can be competitive,” Pioneers coach Rick Coburn said on Friday.
Sunday’s team features four bottom-age players in Zane Keighran, Mitch Goodwin, Jacob Atley and Phil Moi Moi, with another four set to be included the following game in preparation for the three Futures rounds.
From rounds 10 to 12 all teams must play at least 11 bottom-age players.
“We want to make sure that when the Futures rounds start in round 10 we won’t be bringing in 11 bottom-age players all at once,” Coburn said.
Macedon’s Toby Sims will play his first game for the Pioneers on Sunday against an opponent Bendigo has only beaten once since 2004.
The Pioneers go into Sunday one game outside the top eight – not that it’s of much interest to Coburn.
“The ladder isn’t really a focus of mine. Rather it’s about getting the boys prepared and ready for each game we play, and if we can do that week in, week out, we will win our fair share of games,” Coburn said.
Sunday’s game starts at 1pm.
• Bendigo Pioneers team:
B: 19. M. Kemp, 69. A. Mertz, 16. J. Atley
HB: 20. A. Schumacher, 4. K. Betson, 23. Z. Keighran
C: 18. B. Henderson, 52. R. Turner, 25. L. Davis
HF: 32. M. Goodwin, 5. T. Campbell, 15. D. Henderson
F: 2. K. Farrell, 61. J. Bouwmeester, 12. L. Wallace
R: 35. J. Warde, 7. M. Harvey, 9. L. Fitzgerald
Int: 53. H. Lawrence, 27. B. Torpey, 34. C. Barber, 41. D. Grace, 49. J. Miliado, 17. W. Donnan, 55. T. Sims
23P: 54. P. Moi Moi
• TAC Cup ladder:
Geelong – 7-0
Murray – 6-1
Oakleigh – 5-2
Northern – 4-3
Greater Western Vic – 3-4
Eastern – 3-4
Dandenong – 3-4
Gippsland – 2-5
Bendigo – 2-5
Western – 2-5
Calder – 1-6