THE BENDIGO Pioneers showed their true courage during a 32-point defeat to the Dandenong Stingrays on Sunday
Pioneers put up an all-star tackling effort in the first quarter which helped them boot three goals and two behinds to the Stingrays' four goals to trail by just four points.
During the second quarter the Stingrays increased their defensive pressure to reduce any potential open looks at the goals by the Pioneers - the Stingray's scoreboard lead was now 10 points.
After half-time the Stingrays came back out determined to break away from the Pioneers and did so by increasing the lead to 17 points ahead of the final quarter.
Despite a gallant effort from the Pioneers, the Stingrays were able to win the match by 32 points, final scores 7.3 (45) to 12.5 (77).
Goal kickers: L. Painter (2), L. Keck, S. Demeo, A. Gregor, S. Johnston and S. Cooper.
Pioneers coach Danny O'Bree said the squad was more than "up to the test" against one of the league's strongest teams..
"However, Dandenong was able to exploit a few of our deficiencies really well and it's now obvious what we need to work on moving forward," he said.
"The girls reflected on what our focus areas were and didn't feel that we ticked them, so with natural improvement and further reflection we're more than up to the standard of any opposition within the competition."
O'Bree said areas that would be a major focus for the rest of the season included transitions and reading the opposition's cues.
"Our intent and competitiveness is absolutely at the highest point and exactly where we want it to be," he said.
"Today all we needed were some minor tweaks and we would've been right back in the game."
The Pioneers are on the road again during round four and will take on Tasmania next weekend at Highgate Recreation Reserve 12pm.
"After playing Tasmania last year I know they are really fast, skillful and will certainly challenge us as much as Dandenong," O'Bree said.
"We just need to ensure we tick off our focus areas this week at training and we'll be more than competitive."
Pioneers' next home game will be in round seven against the Murray Bushrangers.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.