THE Loy Yang B Gippsland Power emerged victorious against a competitive Northern Knights side on Saturday, to remain unbeaten in the 2012 TAC Cup competition.
In stark contrast to the Power, the Knights had a number of state players available, while the Power was without five of their best contributors season.
Jack Johnstone was rewarded for his top start to the of the 2012 season with a call up to the Casey Scorpions in the Victorian Football League, while Nick Graham, Jack Leslie, Josh Scott and Ben Kearns were part of the Vic Country state side which won its opening game in the under 18 NAB Cup.
Coming into the side for the Power was Anthony Tipungwuti, after his brilliant performance for the Northern Territory in their terrific win over Vic Metro in Darwin.
Alex Carr, Adam Wallace and Jayden Steers returned to the team, while Jarryd Drew started his TAC Cup season after some solid football with Warragul.
In ideal conditions at Preston Oval, Daniel Jackson and Alex Carr goaled early, then some long and direct play by Tipungwuti set up Tim Membrey for his first.
By the first siren, the Power led by 22 points after the Knights put them under the pump with strong and determined play.
Some fine pressure applied by Nate Paredes gave Membrey his second major before Membrey and Tom Fusinato used vision and skill to set up Shannen Lange to goal from a set shot.
More good work by Tom Muir and Simon Deery saw Membrey take another strong mark and then kick another goal.
Some terrific team work by the Power resulted in another goal kicked by Muir.
Some more positive use of the ball allowed Matt Northe to score two fine goals, then Adam Wallace found Membrey who snapped another.
Some good vision by Fusinato and Deery set up Lange for his second from close in, and Lange found Will Hams who goaled from the 50-metre line.
By the end of the term the Power had extended their lead to 72 points, after one of their best quarters of football this season.
The Knights opened the scoring in the third term, but clever work by Aaron Heppell allowed Tipungwuti to enjoy his time up forward, then Lange, Wallace and Muir combined cleverly to set up Deery for his first goal for the game.
Wallace and Tipungwuti then joined forces to set up Membrey for a fine major from deep in the forward pocket.
Membrey unselfishly found Northe for his third goal and this inspired Paredes to use pressure to set Membrey up for his seventh.
Late in the quarter the Knights scored another major but the Power replied to allow Carr to run into an open goal.
By the end of the term the Power led by 98 points.
The Knights capitalised on some lazy Power defensive work early in the last quarter, but Josh Cashman took advantage of some rare time up forward with a clever snap.
The Power squandered some gettable opportunities, before Cashman kicked his second.
The Power won by 103 points, but would rue the wasted chances in the last term.
They went forward 18 times in the quarter for only three goals and undid some of their fine work from the other three terms.
Final scores, Loy Yang B Gippsland Power 22 goals 18 behinds 150 points defeated the Northern Knights 7 goals 5 behinds 47 points.
Goal kickers Tim Membrey 7, Matt Northe 4, Josh Cashman, Shannen Lange and Alex Carr 2, Will Hams, Simon Deery, Daniel Jackson, Tom Muir and Anthony Tipungwuti 1.
The Power now has a week off with a bye and will be more than ready for a break after a great amount of hard work since the start of the pre-season program.
They have set an amazing standard for the rest of the TAC Cup competition and lead the way in most important measures of team oriented and hard-nosed football.
Their next game sees them up against the highly rated North Ballarat Rebels and both sides will go into the match without key players due to state commitments.
This will be a crucial game for both sides, and Nick Stevens will again rely on Power players who have had limited opportunities at the elite level.