Pioneers almost upset Premiership Favourites
THE Bendigo Bank Pioneers fell agonisingly short of upsetting Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup clash on Saturday at Epsom-Huntly.
Beaten just twice this season, Geelong won the ensuing centre bounce and it was game over.
Pioneers coach David Newett said the round 15 clash was the team’s best performance this year.
“It was a fantastic game today,” Newett told the players shortly after they filed into the rooms.
“A lot of our key performance indicators were high in every quarter.
“Intensity at the contest was the best it had been all season.
“Defensive pressure had to be right up there and it was,” he said of forcing turnovers in the windy conditions.
The Pioneers led 33-20 at the 10 minute mark of the second following great goals by captain Jacob Chisari on the run, and a Brandon Spurr snap from a contest.
Heavyside then capped excellent teamwork which began with Isaiah Miller at half-back and included Jaden McGrath and Tommy Cole figuring in the attack through the centre.
Heavyside’s second goal on the run put Bendigo up 39-20 in the 16th minute and the goals kept flowing as Maryborough’s Bailey Edwards was on target in his TAC Cup debut.
The Falcons fought back brilliantly to trail by a point at half-time.
Geelong key forward Patrick McCartin, who was added to the AIS-AFL Academy during the week, took control in the third term.
McCartin’s marking and goalkicking power was to the fore.
The Falcons key forward booted four of his team’s six goals in the quarter as Geelong gained a 28-point lead by the last change.
Bendigo’s replies in the third term were by Daniel Paterson and McGrath.
The Pioneers kicked off the last term with a Heavyside goal in the first minute.
McCartin brought up his seventh, but the Pioneers refused to give in.
Heavyside, Miller and Chisari continued to win many contests through midfield, while Storm clubmates Tommy Cole and Jamieson Sheahan, playing their second and first TAC Cup games ,set up many attacks from the half-back line.
Spurr goaled from a tight angle in the pocket and ruckman Jordan Mangan marked and goaled to be within 15 points at the 15-minute mark.
Chisari’s pass from the coaches box wing was marked by Heavyside to goal from his 29th disposal.
It was to be the Pioneers final move into attack.