Powerful thriller

Loy Yang B Gippsland Power scraped home by one point against the highly rated Calder Cannons at their home ground in Cragieburn.

The Power went into round two of the TAC Cup match without key defenders Kaine Allen and James Huts who were rested after suffering a mild concussion in round one.

Darcy Irwin and Eddie Morris came into the side for the Calder game.

Some good work by Simon Deery, Nick Graham and Josh Scott resulted in the opening goal to Matt Northe but Calder replied quickly to level the scores.

By the first change the Power led by 14 points, but could have been further ahead with some more effective use of the ball.

Key forward Simon Deery was injured when he crashed into the goal post and this put pressure on Scott to step up into the helm across half-forward.

The boys had used too many handballs to set up play and the resultant turnovers allowed the Cannons to stop the Power from dominating.

The whole pattern of the game changed in the second term as the Cannons took control of the centre bounces and easily got the ball up forward. They had three unanswered goals on the board before a timely goal to Jack Johnstone.

Some poor defensive decisions and a lack of accountability in ruck duels saw the Cannons kick another three goals and they went into the long break 15 points up and seemingly in control.

Nick Stevens challenged his players to lift their work rates and play one-on-one football during the long break and they came out with a more positive approach. Despite being off target early in the term, they were back in charge and after some scrambly play Ben Kearns finally hit the target.

Not to be outdone, the Cannons scored two unanswered majors and were seemingly on top as the Power kept missing goals after working hard to get chances to score.

Jack Leslie and Aaron Hepple combined their efforts, allowing Scott to kick a key goal for the Power and then Drew McGrath went quick, long and direct to find Kearns who capitalised on a free kick.

Another long and direct forward thrust saw Muir snap truly and the Power were back on track.

From the resultant centre bounce Paredes and Tom Fusinato combined to help Graham get the last goal of the term.

The Power went into the last term 10 points up but should have led by much more.

Their five goals from 13 scoring shots gave the Cannons a realistic chance of getting back in the game.

The last term opened well for the Power, but once again they were not finishing off.

In stark contrast, the Cannons scored two goals from rare forward entries and put the pressure right back on the Power.

Instead of conceding, the Power exploited their fitness superiority over Calder and kept the ball inside their half but couldn’t score goals to finish the game off. Nate Paredes found Muir, who scored his third for the game, and the Power upped their work rates to hold on and record a narrow one point victory.

Stevens will be keen to improve the boys’ efficiency up forward as he works with them to solidify the game plan that he believes will stand them in good stead this season.

Final result

Gippsland Power 10.18 (78)

Calder Cannons 11.11 (77)

Goal kickers, Tom Muir 3, Ben Kearns and Josh Scott 2, Matt Northe, Nick Graham and Jack Johnstone 1.