VISITS to the Calder Cannons’ home ground is a tough undertaking for any TAC Cup team, but Loy Yang B Gippsland Power was up for the challenge on Saturday.
Despite missing a number of stars, the Power overcame the Cannons to record a 37-point victory.
The Power, who were missing Jack Leslie, Lachie Channing, and Ben Kearns, were boosted by the return of Alex Saunders from nationals duties and Wes Russell from injury.
Jack Hammond also made his TAC Cup debut.
The Power seized the initiative in the opening minutes of the term, but struggled to convert their hard work on the scoreboard.
It took some good team work from Declan Keilty to set up Josh Scott for the opening goal, but they then wasted several opportunities to extend their lead.
Some pressure by Nate Paredes set up Alex Carr for goal, but the Cannons punished the Power’s wastefulness with two goals against the run of play.
By the end of the term the Power led by two points, despite having four more forward 50 entries than the Cannons.
After a stern word from Power coach Nick Stevens during the first break, Keilty and Scott combined for the opening goal, but the Cannons then seized the lead with two majors after some indecisive Power defence.
Gippsland further upped its intensity in contested issues and Saunders and Scott combined to allow Paul Pattison in for a critical goal.
The Power then scored another courtesy of Brenton Rees.
The Cannons kicked another easy goal before Saunders kicked a clever major after some forward pressure.
Saunders then turned provider after a great mark and kick and Scott took full advantage of his hard work.
By the long break the Power led by 15 points and had been more efficient with their forward 50 entries.
Early in third quarter the Power played great pressure football, but could not convert this into goals.
Gippsland finally broke the drought when Carr set up Scott after a great spoil, but the Cannons replied with the next two goals after some poor Power defence.
With the game in the balance, the Power again increased their intensity and some class from Jordie Cunico and Brandon Bailey allowed Scott in for a crucial goal.
As if inspired, Liam Nash then used the ball with penetration and purpose to give Scott his third for the quarter.
Late in the term Carr kicked another long bomb, this time from about 60 metres out, and the Power went to the last change 29 points ahead.
Gippsland opened the term with some long and direct use of the ball which resulted in Keilty setting up Paredes for the all-important first of the quarter.
Against the run of play, the Cannons scored a goal after some poor ruckwork by the Power.
However, the Power replied after some more effective forward pressure allowed Nathan Dennison to set up Cunico for fine major.
It was the Cannons who responded with a textbook goal from the resulting centre bounce, but Scott then created a goal from nothing with exquisite skills under pressure.
The Cannons scored another major from a snap to reduce the margin, but the Power responded with more long and direct attacking thrusts from Paredes and Ed Morris to allow Russell to kick a good team goal.
The Power next faces Sandringham Dragons at Morwell.
Both sides will be without key players due to state commitments, but the Dragons will have the advantage of having many of their better players available due to a break in their school football commitments.
The Power should have Lachie Channing back, while Lukas Webb could also be available from school commitments.