THE Sandringham Dragons exacted revenge for their earlier loss to the Rural Bank Bendigo Pioneers this season, winning their return bout in the TAC Cup by 29 points.
The Pioneers upstaged Sandringham by 21 points in round six, but the Dragons were too good on their home ground at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in winning 15.10 (100) to 11.5 (71) on Saturday.
Having trailed by 30 points early in the final quarter the Pioneers made a surge at the Dragons with three quick goals in succession to Wade Donnan, Angus Byrne and Rourke Turner to close within 11 points at the 14-minute mark.
However, the finals-bound Dragons responded to the Pioneers’ challenge by kicking the last three goals of a game that they had control for much of, having led by as many as 39 points.
“We got ourselves right back in the game halfway through the last quarter and had all the momentum, but unfortunately we gave away a couple of 50m penalties and missed a shot on goal and that was enough for Sandringham to steady and kick away from us again,” Pioneers coach Rick Coburn said.
Reigning best and fairest Keelin Betson took best on ground honours for the Pioneers for his game in defence.
“All our boys in defence worked really hard. They had the weight of numbers against them early in the game, but they were able to repel a lot of Sandy’s attacks,” Coburn said.
Integral in the Pioneers working their way back into the contest were the performances of Angus Schumacher and Bailey Henderson on the wing, with both providing plenty of drive.
Donnan and Lewin Davis kicked three goals each for the Pioneers, who now have a 3-10 record after losing their past five games ahead of a general bye next weekend.
• Match details:
Sandringham Dragons 15.10 (100) d Bendigo Pioneers 11.5 (71).
Goals – W. Donnan, L. Davis 3, A. Byrne 2, M. Harvey, R. Turner, C. Sheahan.
Best – K. Betson, M. Harvey, K. Farrell, J. Warde, W. Donnan, A. Mertz.