With the absence of their National Champs stars, the Bendigo Pioneers and the Northern Knights fought out an entertaining arm wrestle at Preston City Oval on Sunday. A slender three-point lead to the Pioneers at half time was surrendered to a hard working Knights outfit thanks to a six goal to three second half for Northern. The Knights ran out 9.10 64 to 6.13 49 winners.
Here’s who stood out:
Sam Binion | Northern Knights
Mid/Fwd | 189cm | 80kg
Binion had a day out in the middle of Preston City Oval, but his move forward was where he did his most damage. Consistently got to the right spots and didn’t get out-marked. He was the Knights’ most dangerous forward, finishing with two goals and significant impact on the game.
Max Dreher | Northern Knights
Def/Mid | 183cm | 75kg
Competitive beast as always. He’s never the fastest, tallest or strongest but when he’s near the ball he’s as sure to will himself to win or have it as the Pope is Catholic. Covered the ground well on Sunday and accumulated plenty of the ball.
Tom McKenzie | Northern Knights
Wing | 182cm | 73kg
Get the ball in the man’s hands. Stepped through traffic like a little kid in a crowded queue and seldom, if ever, wasted a disposal. McKenzie doesn’t have to rack up the stats to attract attention, he just commands it with his class and poise. The bottom ager was one of Northern’s best from the wing.
Anthony Fable | Northern Knights
Mid | 178cm | 81kg
Came out firing with a massive first half performance. Won it at the coalface and burst away from stoppages, often leaving multiple Pioneers in his wake, looking like their boots were filled with concrete. Clever with his hands. Faded out a bit in the second half.
Kye Yodgee | Northern Knights
Mid | 180cm | 80kg
It’s just good to watch when a bloke commits himself to the contest like Yodgee does. Tackled well and burrowed in even better. You deserve to have a big day when you compete like Yodgee does, which he did. Another bottom ager, who showed plenty in a variety of roles, offering dash and an instinctive use of the footy.
Cooper Jones | Bendigo Pioneers
Def | 190cm | 80kg
Jones is a classy player with seriously good hands over his head. He was always clean in the air, took intercept marks and outnumbered marks. You name it, he grabbed it in the air. Kicked it well to go with his marking. Close to Bendigo’s best.
Darby Henderson | Bendigo Pioneers
Mid | 176cm | 72kg
A midfielder’s midfielder. Winning the ball is his bread and butter. Extracts the ball from stoppages and contests and makes such quick decisions. Kicked a great goal roving a ruck contest in a crowded pack like a flash of lightning. His kicking let him down at times.
Laine Fitzgerald | Bendigo Pioneers
Mid | 177cm | 75kg
Great distributor of the footy. Compliments Henderson well with his classy kicking – and they looked for each other. Kicked well around the ground and, more importantly, going inside 50. Fitzgerald has that ability to draw the leading player to where he wants to kick the ball.
Mitchell Kemp | Bendigo Pioneers
Def | 187cm | 67kg
Continued his promising form and saw plenty of it running off half-back. He was neat overhead and at ground level, and offered a great rebounding option as the Pioneers looked to him to distribute out of the back half. He used the ball generally well, and demonstrated genuine footy smarts when reading the flight well and spoiling to the advantage of teammates.
Other notable performances: Matt Harvey (BP), Marcus Lentini (NK), Matt Harman (NK), Caleb Sheahan (BP), Patrik Della Rocca (NK), Keelin Betson (BP).