THE Bendigo Pioneers girls came crashing back with a thud on Saturday, handed a 50-point hiding from the Geelong Falcons at Epsom-Huntly Recreation Reserve.
Riding the high of an impressive round one win over Murray in their last outing, the Pioneers were quickly on the backfoot against the Falcons, who made a flying start on the way to their 10.6 (66) to 2.4 (16) victory.
Saturday's flat performance from the Pioneers came on the back of the previous week's calling off of round two due to the state-wide lockdown that was in place.
"The week off in between may have had a bit of an impact... we were quite flat today to start with," Pioneers coach Danny O'Bree said.
"But having said that, we were completely outplayed by Geelong, so full credit to them."
One of the major stumbling blocks for the Pioneers, who were held scoreless in the opening term, was the Falcons' capacity to intercept and rebound from half-back.
"Geelong was really good from half-back... they set up the field really well and completely owned the outside," O'Bree said.
The Pioneers were also hampered by the absence of captain Tara Slender, who was sidelined following a head knock late in the round one win.
"Tara was such a great focal point for us in round one and in my opinion was the best player on the ground. Taking her out of the side today and missing her leadership hurt us," O'Bree said.
Maddi Marks, who was among the Pioneers' best players, skippered the side in Slender's absence.
"I thought our backline stood up well given there was a lot of ball going in the Geelong forward line," O'Bree said.
"I thought Tegan Williams was our best player today at centre half-back; Octavia Di Donato was really good with her rebound off half-back; Lila Keck was lively and put on a lot of pressure; and Scarlett Orritt competed well all day, which was our key message at three quarter-time.
"I thought our last quarter was our best for the day with the way in which we competed, so that's something we can take into next week."
The Pioneers' two goals were both kicked in the second quarter by Jemma Finning and Charli Dorrity.
The Pioneers will be back on their home ground at Epsom next Saturday to take on the Calder Cannons from 12.30pm.
The Cannons will be also coming off a loss after going down to the Oakleigh Chargers by 16 points on Saturday.
Geelong Falcons 10.6 (66) def Bendigo Pioneers 2.4 (16)
Bendigo goals - J. Finning, C. Dorrity 1.
Bendigo best - M. Marks, T. Williams, S. Orritt, E. Snell, J. Richardson, O. Di Donato.
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