Story thanks to Preston Leader.
NORTHERN Knights continued their impressive start to the TAC Cup season with a thrilling three-point victory against the Bendigo Pioneers on Sunday.
The visitors held a 17-point lead early in the last quarter of a seesawing affair, in which the lead changed hands eight times, before Jack Petruccelle kicked the winning goal deep in time-on.
Vince Nativo was important early in his first game back from injury and illness, kicking three goals, while defender Ethan Penrith continued his terrific season to be named best afield in the 12.5 (77) to 10.14 (74) triumph.
“We were probably comfortable midway through the last quarter but then they got some midfield ascendancy, surged and hit the front,” coach Justin Wenke said.
“The boys did well to score again and hold on in the last three minutes. We were probably lucky in the end.”
Wenke said his team had been challenged in the last quarter of all three of its victories in 2017 but had been able to “find a way to win”.
Penrith displayed impressive rebounding and helped limit the Pioneers, while Wenke said Mitch Andrews played his best game for the club.
The 18-year-old, who played predominantly midfield last year, was an efficient outlet for the defence, gathering 12 marks among 32 touches, while skipper Nick Coffield kicked a goal and accumulated 34 touches in the midfield.
“Nick got injured before halftime last week and did a great job to rehabilitate himself and get himself right to play,” Wenke said.
“AFL clubs can now see he can play as a hybrid defender who can intercept and kick the ball well. He is now developing his game in midfield and challenged himself with his running and to win a bit of the ball.”
Jamison Shea, Sam Binion and Harrison Grace all kicked two goals.
“We’re really pleased,” Wenke said.
“We have lost our private schoolboys, so we have had 10 first-gamers in the past two weeks.
“By this time next week, we will probably have played nearly everyone on our list, which is a great opportunity for all the local boys on our team.”
The Knights sit fifth with three wins after five games.
In further good news for the club, five Under 16 players — Adam Carafa, Xavier Naish, Lucas Perry, Lachlan Potter and Charlie Simonsen — have also been named in the Vic Metro squad.