NAB League Boys Analysis: Bendigo Pioneers six-goal first term

IT was a quarter that certainly opened eyes across the league, with Bendigo Pioneers completely dominating the Geelong Falcons in 25 minutes of impressive football. The Pioneers, who won two matches and finished on the bottom of the table last year, showed that their bottom-agers were up for the fight in season 2019, racing to a 6.1 (37) to 0.1 (1) quarter time lead. After that, the Pioneers still won the scoring battle, seven goals to six, but it was much closer and the start was something to behold. We take a look at what made the Pioneers so impressive in that first term. To take a look at how the Pioneers piled on six goals, we look at the way each major came about and the time in the quarter the goal occured.


1:53 Riley Ironside – A quick handball out of the pack straight to the running Ironside who opened the Pioneers’ account in the opening two minutes.
7:31 Max Johnson – Free kick from a forward 50 stoppage. Johnson converted the set shot from just insdie 50.
8:35 Riley Wilson – Another handball out of traffic to Wilson who snapped truly on his right and bent it through.
11:35 Jeremy Rodi – Sharked a hitout and snapped a goal off a step from a forward stoppage and it bounced once before bouncing the right way through the goals.
17:19 Caleb Fisher – A series of handballs by the Pioneers finished with Fisher who kicked truly after straightening up inside 50.
22:35 Will Shaw – Put on the afterburners and burnt off opponents to deliver late in the term with a running goal just inside 50.

So of the six goals, three goals came from handballs inside 50 from inside congestion out to the running player on the outside, one came from a set shot, one directly from a stoppage clearance and one from taking the game on and goaling on the run.

Looking ahead to the top disposal winners in the first term, Bendigo Pioneers trio, Thomson Dow, James Schischka and Logan Fitzgerald finished the term with nine touches each. A number of the handballs out of stoppages were from Dow, while Schischka positioned himself for the intercept mark out of the Falcons defence, and Fitzgerald was productive around the stoppages. Other Pioneers who found the footy were Riley Wilson, Brodie Kemp and Riley Ironside – two of whom kicked goals, while Kemp played an important role in midfield. For the Falcons, Cooper Stephens had a team-high nine disposals, while Jesse Clark and Archie Hildebrandt had eight, and Charlie Harris finished the quarter with seven.


Thomson Dow (BP) 9
James Schischka (BP) 9
Logan Fitzgerald (BP) 9
Cooper Stephens (GF) 9
Jesse Clark (GF) 8
Archie Hildebrandt (GF) 8
Charlie Harris (GF) 7
Riley Wilson (BP) 6
Brodie Kemp (BP) 6
Riley Ironside (BP) 6

Now looking to the team statistics, we see a clear discrepancy across all areas aside from rebounds, with the Pioneers taking 16 marks to eight, and having 27 more disposals. More importantly, Bendigo restricted Geelong to just 28 kicks in the quarter, compared to the second half where the Falcons were able to record 107 kicks. After quarter time, Geelong was able to find more space to kick the ball, and its kick to handball ratio reduced. The Pioneers used the running handball game to their advantage, and backed their speed which saw them set up several plays forward.

A big factor in the first term was in the forward 50 tackles. Bendigo Pioneers served up eight forward 50 tackles from 14 inside 50s, while the Falcons did not record one from seven. The effective clearances stood at five to one in the Pioneers’ favour, with the Falcons’ first clearances and inside 50 coming at the 9:26 minute mark. By that stage, the score was 3.1 (19) to 0.0 (0). Geelong had three attempts on goal – Max Annadale recording a behind on the run, with two other attempts going out on the full – both from set shots.


Stat: BP-GF
Handballs: 51-41
Disposals: 96-69
Marks: 16-8
Clearances: 5-1
Inside 50s: 14-7
Tackles I50: 8-0
Rebounds: 7-8

Bendigo Pioneers went on to record a memorable 43-point win, and while the game was tight after quarter time, Bendigo finished off strongly as well, booting two goals to zero after Geelong cut the deficit to 31 points at the final break. Dow recorded the most disposals for the Pioneers with 28, as well as eight marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while capping off the performance with two goals. Schischka and Fitzgerald both went on to have 24 disposals, as well as a combined 10 rebounds and 11 marks. Wilson was named best on for the Pioneers, racking up 23 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s, three tackles and two rebounds as well as his goal. The Pioneers now travel to Deakin Reserve, Shepparton to take on Murray Bushrangers who are coming off a narrow loss to Gippsland Power in what hopes to be a thrilling contest.

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