LOY Yang B Gippsland Power coach Nick Stevens described his side’s 33-point loss against the Northern Knights as the most disappointing effort he had seen in his tenure at the club.
After suffering three uncustomary losses in recent weeks, Power was desperate for a win but went into the game without gun forward Josh Scott who was playing VFL for Casey.
Hard-nut onballer Nate Paredes was also missed due to injury.
Ben Kearns returned from a broken scaphoid bone while youngster, Nash Holmes, stepped up to the elite TAC Cup after impressing for Gippsland League side Sale.
The Knights opened the scoring with a freak snapped major to signal their intent for the match.
Some positive ball use by Nathan Dennison and Tom Muir allowed Lachie Channing to reply for the Power but the Knights punished some poor marking to kick a soft goal.
Power took the initiative briefly when Adam Wallace goaled from the 50 metre line followed by a Kearns major on the back of some good team play.
Late in the term the Knights capitalised on poor Power decision making and skill errors to go to the first change one-point up.
The relentless Knights scored another easy goal to start the second term, but the Power responded when Aaron Heppell set up Brenton Rees after effective forward pressure created an opportunity.
As would be the trend for the rest of the game, the Knights replied instantly from the resultant centre bounce and booted another from a free kick moments later.
Things looked better for the Power when Alex Carr kicked a timely goal from a free kick and 50 metre penalty and it was back in the game when Jake Thomas marked and goaled. The determined Knights dug deep and displayed superior determination to score three straight goals late in the quarter.
Going into the long break the Knights led by 20 points and had beaten the Power at its trademark game.
The Knights opened the scoring in the third and things went from bad to worse when Power squandered three scoring opportunities only to see the Knights kick another simple goal at the other end.
A timely reply by Paul Pattison from a free kick saw the Power get some reward for hard work but his team mates struggled with their radars as a series of shots went awry.
Power cut off the Knights’ easy avenues to goal and mounted a long and direct forward charge of its own through Dennison, allowing Kearns to major and draw his side within 19 points.
With the match up for grabs, the Knights seized the initiative with back to back goals.
Refusing to lay down Rees set up Carr for an outside 50 “special”, before forward pressure by Nash Holmes set up Ed Morris for a fine snap to keep Power in the match.
Rees snapped true again to get his team within two straight kicks, but the Knights rallied with three unanswered majors to win by 33.
Several Power players stood tall in the demoralising defeat.
In heavy conditions Morris amassed more than 25 hard-nosed possessions but more importantly set the tone with 10 plus crunching tackles in traffic.
After struggling in recent games Rees had been challenged by his coach to run hard and straight and responded well.
Stevens spoke briefly after the match to highlight his disappointment that Power was outplayed in the areas it has prided itself on in recent seasons.
Power has two games left in the 2013 TAC Cup regular season and will have to regroup quickly when it takes on arch rivals Dandenong at Shepley oval in two weeks.
Regardless of respective ladder positions, this is traditionally a great contest.