GIPPSLAND Power recorded its second win of the TAC Cup season over the Northern Knights at Morwell on Anzac Day.
Returning to the field after the year’s first development break, which saw 12 Power players help Victoria Country dismiss New South Wales in a practice match for the under 18 championships, the home side kicked 14.8 (92) to 9.11 (65).
The Power welcomed back Sam Skinner from the AFL Academy program while talented Maffra youngster Kade Renooy made his TAC Cup debut.
Bottom-ager Ben Ainsworth was unavailable due to his AFL Academy squad’s match as a curtain-raiser to the AFL game in New Zealand between Carlton and St Kilda.
The match against the Knights was preceded by a moving Anzac Day memorial service.
The Knights began brightly with a slick goal from the opening bounce, before the Power’s Josh Patullo and Nash Holmes combined to set up Harrison McKay to reply from the resultant centre bounce.
Things looked better still for the Power when Deven Costigan intercepted a Knights’ defensive pass and goaled from the 50 metre line.
Another piece of positive forward play saw Patullo combine with Jackson McMahon via his trademark left handball and McMahon finished it off with poise.
Renooy provided another long and direct forward entry and this time Skinner took a strong mark and then kicked accurately.
The Power struck again when Todd Beck gave Tate Marsh a chance to use his pace and evasive skills to give on-baller Tom Papley a typically clever goal.
With the home side well on top, Patullo and Tom Hobbs combined to offer Skinner another contested mark, which he gleefully grabbed and converted. The Knights stopped the onslaught by punishing Power’s over-use of the ball and the resultant turnover allowed the visitor to kick a critical goal late in the term.
After a dominant term the Power went to the first break with a 24-point lead, having kicked six majors from 14 forward 50 entries.
Not willing to roll over the Knights posted two quick goals to start the second term. Intelligent ball use by McKay and Papley was finished off by Costigan but the Power was wasting scoring opportunities with poor options by hand and foot.
The Gippslanders got back on track via sensible distribution from Skinner and Marsh, and McKay goaled after a free kick.
Yet again the Knights goaled from the centre bounce, continuing a trend of stealing Power ruckmen’s clean hit outs.
It took a freakish snapped goal by Holmes to get the scoreboard back to a comfortable margin but the Knights spoiled the party when they took advantage of more indecision to goal.
By the long break the Power led by 22 points in a stuttering half which saw the side use roughly the same number of handballs as kicks.
The Knights landed the first two goals of the third quarter while the Power struggled to move the ball forward let alone kick majors.
Late in the term Holmes and Christian Bukyx-Smith combined to give Aloysio Ferreira a rare chance to goal and his major gave the Power a nine-point lead at the last change-over.
The Power had kicked one goal from 10 forward 50 entries in the third but was let off the hook by the Knights who only managed 2.7 (19) from their 13 entries.
Costigan and McMahon gave Bukyx-Smith a chance to goal from a free which he duly did to give the Power some momentum to start the final term.
When McMahon kicked truly it seemed the Knights were done for, but the visitor hit back to stay in touch. Nippy forward Argento and Patullo landed the killer blow with a goal each to round off a 27-point win.
Former Power player and wall of fame member at the Centre of Excellence David Wojcinski was on hand to witness the clash.
The Power will face Western Jets at Morwell on Sunday.