Loy Yang B Gippsland Power was missing several players for its clash against bottom-place North Ballarat Rebels, however it was still able to record a resounding 86-point victory in round nine of the TAC Cup.
Players missing from the Power’s ranks included Jack Leslie and Alex Saunders due to state football commitments, Ben Kearns to injury and Lucas Webb to school commitments.
However, Adam Wallace and Mitch Mustoe returned after playing earlier in the season and their efforts were crucial in the team’s ability when dealing with the Rebels.
The Power applied their trademark pressure early in the game, but the Rebels were equally as determined and worked hard to return the pressure to Gippsland.
Ed Morris found Nathan Dennison and goaled to finally break the Rebels’ shackles. Morris then went long to Bohdi Walker who goaled off the pack and then assisted with some clever play which helped Alex Carr to score a major.
The Power were playing excellent one-on-one football, but were not finishing off the resultant forward thrusts at goal. They finally broke the trend with a goal to Dennison to enter the first break 26 points ahead.
The Rebels exploited some of Powers’ poor decision making with early pressure in the second quarter.
It took a free kick and 50-metre penalty to Nate Paredes for the Power to finally shake the Rebels off.
Declan Keilty then capitalised on another free kick to extend the Power’s lead. The Rebels returned fire with their first goal but the Power replied when Liam Nash worked hard to find Carr for his second major.
By the long break the Power led by 40 points but had to play some hard-nosed team football to create their lead.
Power coach Nick Stevens reminded the boys at the break that only a four-quarter effort was good enough against the Rebels.
To emphasise that point, the Rebels scored the first goal of the third quarter and again the Power replied with a clever goal from Brenton Rees after he roved the pack brilliantly.
The Rebels made a rare defensive error and allowed Jordie Cunico to kick another for the Power and then some smart from Jake Thomas resulted in a goal to Josh Scott.
The Power had taken the initiative but it was the Rebels who scored next after some errors in the Power’s defence. Some clever ruckwork from Keilty allowed Rohan Hildebrand in for a Power goal and then some excellent play resulted in another to Scott.
Gippsland was finally converting its hard-won forward chances and then Carr and Brandon Bailey combined from the centre bounce to give Scott his third for term.
The Powers lead had extended to 63 points at three-quarter-time and Stevens again reminded the players they needed to work hard in the final quarter to keep the Rebels at bay.
North Ballarat punished some poor Power defence to open the scoring in the last term.
Dennison then showed what happens when you go long and direct into the forward line when he found Scott, who added to his tally of goals for the day.
Morris then showed how important forward pressure was with a goal from a free kick.
This seemed to inspire the boys.
They used great team football to bring the ball from full-back to the forward line where Carr capped it off with a major, but the Rebels reminded the Power to stay focused with a goal after some rebound football.
The Power worked hard in all contests and Keilty capped off some of this effort with a stunning kick for goal over his head. Lachie Channing set up Cunico for another and by the final siren the Power had extended its margin to 86 points.
The Power next faces the seventh-placed Calder Cannons.
Finals score: Gippsland Power 18.17 (125) d North Ballarat Rebels 5.9 (39)