The Calder Cannons produced their best all-round team performance as they accounted for Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup on Saturday.
Coming off a disappointing game the week before, the Cannons played some good football in punishing conditions.
The Cannons failed to make the most of kicking with the wind in the first quarter, but broke the game open in the third, kicking six goals to one.
With the game in their control, the Cannons locked things up in the final quarter and held on to win 10.8 (68)-4.5 (29).
Cannons’ coach Ross Smith said the consistent team performance across the four quarters was the most pleasing thing to come from the game.
“It was a pretty ordinary day conditions-wise, so we’re pleased to get the points,” he said.
“We had the wind in the first and third quarters, but didn’t take full advantage in the first quarter.
“We kicked six goals in the third quarter and were able to find the scoreboard. It’s always important not to kick behinds with the breeze. It was nice to convert and kick goals.
“The rain then really came in. We locked the ball in our forward line in the last quarter.
“We had the best of the conditions in the first and third quarters.”
Smith said eight to 10 players could have been named in the team’s best.
Co-captain Mitchell Podhajski kicked three goals in his return from VFL and was the standout forward.
Smith said he also liked the games of Nathan Croft, Curtis Taylor, Tye Browning, Ismail Moussa and Lucas Cavallaro.
He said first-gamers Sean Callander and Anthony Righele were also good.
The win came without three of the Cannons’ top draft prospects – Jack Bytel, Rhylee West and Mason Fletcher.
“Jack has an ongoing back issue and he’s going to miss a couple of weeks and then the national championships,” Smith said.
“Rhylee had school football, while Mason is out for the season with stress fractures.”
The win means the Cannons sit 3-3 and sixth on the ladder. Smith said he wasn’t concerned with that.
“We don’t get caught up with the wins and losses, as under the new finals system everyone plays finals,” he said.