The Bendigo Pioneers under-18 boys suffered their first loss of the NAB League season on Sunday.
The Pioneers were favoured to defeat the Gippsland Power in their first home game of the season at the QEO, but the visitors proved too strong.
The Pioneers kicked the first goal of the final quarter to regain the lead before the Power kicked the final four goals of the match to win 12.10 (82) to 8.10 (58).
"The Gippsland boys produced a really strong four-quarter performance,'' Pioneers' coach Rick Coburn said.
"There wasn't much in the game. It was pretty close for the majority of the game, but they got a break in the last quarter kicking with a slight breeze.
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"We had some opportunities that we didn't capitalise on. There wasn't miles between the sides and we didn't play overly well.
"We'd like to think if we put together a four-quarter performance against them next time that we'd be very competitive."
The Pioneers' cause wasn't hlped by a game-ending leg injury to key midfielder Thomson Dow.
Sam Conforti (22 possessions), Jeremy Rodi (21 possessions) and Brodie Kemp (21 possessions) tried hard to lift the Pioneers.
19-year-old Riley Clarke was prominent across half-forward, while Caleb Fisher kicked three goals.
"Stats wise the game was even, but we felt we didn't maximise our opportunities,'' Coburn said.
"Both teams applied good pressure, so it was a really high pressure contest.
"We feel as though our back six is defending really well...we just need to clean up our ball use and put some more heat on the scoreboard."
The Pioneers have the next fortnight off.
"The boys will be able to play some club footy, but they'll also have a bit of a rest because it's been a hectic five or six weeks for them,'' Coburn said.
James Schischka, Aaron Gundry, Brodie Kemp, Thomson Dow and Sam Conforti will attend the Victoria Country under-18 training camp this week.
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