Round 3 of the TAC Cup sees Gippsland Power take on Bendigo Pioneers on Saturday April 7th at 10am, Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo

After an impressive one-point win over the GWV Rebels in Round 1, the Bendigo Pioneers succumed to a strong Murray Bushrangers outfit. The Pioneers stuck with them for most of the game, but a second half frenzy saw the Bushrangers boot eight goals to one to win by 56 points in the end. Meanwhile Gippsland Power went down to Dandenong Stingrays, after being in front by a point at the final break. the eventual four-goal margin could have been much worse considering the Stingrays had a whopping 28 more inside 50s than the Power. A week earlier, the Power upset the Bushrangers, so both the teams head into round three win an even keel of wins and losses.

Bendigo cops the loss of Academy stars harder than Gippsland with Joe Atley and Jye Caldwell both outs, as the Pioneers named an extended bench. For the first time we might see twins Daine and Josh Grace take the field together for the first time in a TAC Cup match, while the Pioneers strong inside brigade will be looking to match the Power at the stoppages. Gippsland has included three players into the side, including returning ruck Rylan Henkel, after Gippsland lost the hitout count to Dandenong by 33. Given the omissions for the Pioneers, Gippsland will head into the game confident, especially considering how well its defence has held up this season thanks to Matthew McGannon, Brock Smith, Bailey Beck and Ryan Sparkes. But Bendigo will be every chance to get the points on its home turf at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Peter Williams

AFL Draft Central

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