The Loy Yang B Gippsland Power went to Bendigo for its round three TAC Cup match and came away with a comprehensive victory over the highly rated Pioneers side.
The Bendigo team had been impressive in their opening two games.
The Power were strengthened by the return of key defenders Kaine Allen and James Huts, while Paul Pattison and Jayden Steers were selected for their first games this season.
It was the Pioneers that opened the scoring early in the first term, but due to some good work by Nick Graham, Tom Muir replied with a clever goal from deep in the forward pocket.
Later in the term, Shannen Lange kicked the second after a 50-metre penalty, but the Pioneers hit back.
With the Pioneers applying pressure, the Power upped the ante as Nat Paredes went long into attack from the centre bounce and Josh Scott kicked a vital goal.
Graham again showed some class and found Muir who kicked his second for the quarter.
By the first change, the Power led by 22 points and had put the Pioneers on the back foot with their ferocious tackling all over the ground.
As predicted, the Pioneers kicked the first goal of the quarter and it took some strong marking by Jack Johnstone and Graham for the Power to reply to the Pioneers initial foray into the forward line.
The local boys then kicked the next two goals to put themselves back in the game.
Some good, scrambly play by Lachie Channing and Matt Northe allowed Aaron Heppell to goal and the Power went into the long break 23 points up.
The Power were made well aware of the challenge they faced in terms of the Pioneers work rate and skill, and went into the third term with a lot of hard work to do.
Yet again, the Pioneers goaled first to reinforce the need for the Power to be at their best and, from the resultant centre bounce, they went long and direct through Tom Fusinato and Will Hams to allow Anthony Tipungwuti to reply for the Power.
On a roll, the Power went into attack from the bounce and Scott kicked his second from a free kick.
Mid way through the quarter, the Pioneers kicked another goal but it was the last of the term.
Both sides tightened up defensively and it became a battle of wills as they kept each other under pressure all over the ground.
By the end of the quarter the Power led by 20 points but hadn’t stemmed the Pioneers willingness to stay in the match.
Nick Stevens laid down some stern challenges for the Power based on their work rate and willingness to apply intense pressure in contests.
Faced with such a challenge, the Power went into overdrive and more good work by Johnstone and Hams saw Northe do it again.
It was obvious the team had responded well to the Stevens’ challenges.
Once again, they went into attack and some clever work by Scott set up Tipungwuti who kicked another great goal.
Darcy Irwin was another one who got creative, as he went long into attack and Pattison snapped another fine goal from what appeared to be half a chance.
Jack Johnstone initiated another piece of forward play as he combined cleverly with Muir to set up Northe for his third for the match.
Not to be shown up by his teammates, Scott again used quick hands to telling effect with Tom Fusinato given the chance to join the goal kickers.
In the dying minutes Muir was given a chance for his fourth after a free kick and a 50-metre penalty, which he finished off.
By the final siren, the Power had extended the margin 58 points with a stunning display of intense, team-oriented pressure where their fitness allowed them to up their work rate.
The fact the Power went into their forward 50m 16 times to Bendigo’s seven illustrates part of their dominance of the term but, their 30-plus tackles, including nine inside 50m, really showed off their workrate.
To further illustrate the Power’s willingness to work under pressure, an injury to ruckman Jack Leslie put extra pressure on the taller players as they moved around to reply to the challenges of his absence.
Gippsland Power 17. 11 (113) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 8. 7 (55)