The Northern Knights and the Greater Western Victoria Rebels have played out the first draw of the TAC Cup season on Sunday afternoon at Eureka Stadium in Ballarat.
In a see-sawing contest, a late Sam Binion goal for the Knights helped tie the scores with minutes remaining as both teams held off late surges forward to score the winning points.
The Knights battled on manfully as they went down to just one on the bench in the late stages with injuries to Mitch Wild, Ryan Bowkett, Anthony Fable, Jack Petruccelle and Nick Mayne.
Coach Justin Wenke says it was a weird feeling at the end of the game but was proud of the boys.
“The feeling after the game was a bit indifferent,” Wenke said.
“It was disappointing to be in that position after such a promising start, but to the boys’ credit to fight back and tie the game and after so many injuries was pleasing to see.”
“For us to hold them out late in the game and eventually move it down our end was fantastic but time just beat us in the end.”
Nick Mayne on debut kicked the first goal of the game, while Patrik Della Rocca kicked two in the first term including a terrific snap from deep in the pocket as the Knights kicked 3 goals to 1 to take a 14-point lead into the first change.
The Rebels fought back in the second term as the Knights injury toll continued to grow and took the lead in the third term as they kicked three goals to one to take a four-point lead at the final break.
“We really struggled in those second and third quarters and we were cleaned out in the midfield, but everywhere else it was an extremely close game and the scoreboard reflected that.”
The Knights helped steady the flow by the Rebels in the last quarter and couldn’t finish off the locals and headed back down the highway with two points in the bag.
On return from school football commitments Kye Yodgee and Tom McKenzie both played outstanding games.
“Kye was great down back and competed really well, while Tommy played a great game on his wing and with his six inside 50s we got three goals out of them.”
The Knights will have the week off this week as a result of the TAC Cup Development Weekend before taking on the Bendigo Pioneers at Preston City Oval on the following Sunday.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels: 1.1 4.1 6.5 6.8 (44)
Northern Knights 3.3 4.5 5.6 6.8 (44)
Greater Western Victoria Rebels: K. Gray, J. Taurau, L. Dawson, T. Clark, T. Reed, S. Carlin
Northern Knights: P. Della Rocca 3, J. Shea, H. Grace, S. Binion
Greater Western Victoria Rebels: T. Reed, N. McRoberts, T. Scott, L. Dawson, A. Domic, J. Taurau
Northern Knights: A. Federico, T. McKenzie, K. Yodgee, M. Lentini, J. Petruccelle, M. Baker