Jekyll and Hyde performance from Power

GIPPSLAND Power played two separate and totally different types of football last weekend in the TAC Cup and, as a result, lost a game that was distinctly winnable against the Eastern Ranges.

In the first half they allowed the Ranges to dictate the terms of play and used the Power’s own game plan to totally dominate the match.

After being challenged by coach Nick Stevens to get back to their determined and team-oriented approach, they controlled play in the second half but were unable to claw back enough of the score-line that they had conceded so meekly in the first quarter and a half of the game.

The first term saw the Ranges seize the initiative and apply intense pressure on the Power all over the ground. They slammed on seven unanswered goals as a consequence of exposing glaring weaknesses in the Power’s application and willingness to play team oriented football.

The previously strong Power midfield was made to look impotent by the disciplined Ranges boys and this then put the defence under intense pressure to stem the continuous flow from the centre of the ground.

The Ranges had twice as many forward fifty entries as the Power and this was the key statistic that highlighted just how poorly the Power had played.

It was the first time all year that they had been dominated so much by an opposition team and they were made to look second rate as a consequence.

Things looked even worse in the early part of the term as the Ranges continued to dominate the play and put undue pressure on the Power defenders. However, instead of waving the white flag, they began to play more team football and do the sort of things that the conditions required.

They stopped the flow of morale sapping goals and began to get the all going into their own forward line.

Josh Scott was able to craft a vital goal late to at least reward them for their more productive efforts.

By half-time they trailed by 57 points and the game appeared to be well and truly over.

Stevens urged them to use the second half to get back to their usual game plan and try to restore some credibility to their score line. The Ranges scored the opening goal of the quarter but the Power dug deep and Alex Carr snapped a critical goal.

Some more productive team work by Ben Kearns resulted to another goal by Ed Morris and it looked as if the boys had begun to answer the coach’s challenge.

The resultant centre bounce saw the Ranges kick an all too common easy goal and the pressure was back on the Power.

First gamer Brandon Bailey kicked a fine goal after some great pressure being applied by the Power and then Scott created another for Adam Diamond to score. Late in the term Kearns kicked a long bomb and the Power had reduced the margin to 39 points.

The boys had played disciplined, one-on-one football and had dominated the forward fifty entries as well as the all-important tackles count, especially those in the forward fifty.

Jordie Cunico set the tone with a long goal early in the term and then some more forward pressure allowed Alex Saunders to snap a fine goal. The Ranges hit back with a vital goal almost against the run of play but the Power hit back with a Kearns major after he applied intense pressure on the Ranges defence.

Just when it looked possible for the Power to get within reach, the Ranges scored an easy reply and then kicked another after a free kick. Instead of giving up, the Power kept up the work ethic and Kearns scored two more as a direct result of his ability to apply intense forward pressure.

The Ranges won 15.14 (104) to 11.11 (77).

On Saturday, Gippsland will faces the Murray Bushrangers at Craigieburn and, despite their ladder positions, it represents a great challenge for the Power.