By OSCAR PERRI
Pioneer Football Club’s senior men’s side are finding their form at the right end of the season, defeating West Alice by 49 points at Albrecht Oval in the penultimate round of the regular season.
Dylan Alice followed up his impressive performance last week in the loss to ladder leaders Rovers, with a seven goal bag.
The two teams have not faced of since May 22 when West won by 18 points, in which Toshie Kunoth and Aaron Sharpe, who were both missing from the side on the weekend, kicked three goals each.
Last week the Pioneers had looked strong early, with an impressive forward press, which they repeated again successfully, and without the ball players pushed right up the ground to leave Clayton Walker with just one defender to beat if the ball made it over the top.
But also like last week, they did not seem to be finding nearly enough reward on the scoreboard for their dominance of the ball.
Led by the example of Nick Whyte and Liam Jurrah West were playing their usual hard, and sometimes aggressive, style of football, which Pioneer midfielder Kaleel Ross seemed to be copping the brunt of.
He showed his toughness though, always bouncing back up, showing no signs of intimidation.
It was a scrappy first quarter, without a goal for the first 12 minutes, and despite losing the midfield battle West took a seven point advantage into the break.
Early goals to the Pioneers saw the score even out early in the quarter as they figured out how to move the ball forward in the absence of star mid Thomas Swan.
After a very quiet first quarter, Alice exploded in the last five to 10 minutes and seemed to have the ball on a string kicking two goals and setting up another, drawing the lead out to 21 points at half time.
All game, Jurrah fought hard whenever the ball got near him, ending up with two majors only due to a lack of supply. It was an entertaining battle with Pioneer defender Edward Hampton, the two big bodies with matching number 17 jumpers fighting it out.
West were only managing to get the ball forward through quick movement from turnovers in their back half, but it was not happening nearly enough for them to work back into the game.
After a concerted team effort to get some run going through Geoffrey Pareroultja and Marcus McDonald, Pioneers responded, slowing the game down and taking back control.
From there Alice kicked another two consecutive goals, and with 10 to go in the third, West seemed to have accepted their fate.
The fourth quarter was a raffle for Pioneers, with Alice booting half of their six goals for the term, while Kane Sevallos worked his way into the game to cash in with a couple for himself.
Final score:15.11.101 v 8.4.52.