Altona has made a stuttering start to the Bowls Victoria premier division season, but co-captain Ben Loughlin feels it’s too early to hit the panic button.
The A’s went into the season widely tipped to be a contender, but with just one win from three games, the pressure is starting to mount.
Loughlin conceded the mid-table A’s are not where they want to be at this point of time.
“Certainly not [happy],” he said.
“The two sides we’ve lost to are two of the best top four sides in the comp.
“Essendon won a flag two years ago, Melbourne won a flag last year, so they’re the two losses we’ve had and both have been under double figures.
“We’ve lost to quality opposition, but we’re also not quite putting it all together at the moment.” Altona’s loss to Essendon was a heartbreaker.
The A’s won two rinks and split another, but still went down 85-78 overall after one rink was beaten heavily.
“We’ve been in winning positions the past two weeks at 60 ends and we’ve lost those last 20 ends,” Loughlin said.
“We’ve only got ourselves to blame. We’re not playing the game out 100 per cent, we’re playing three quarters of the game and letting ourselves down at the finish.”
It continues Altona’s poor record at Essendon’s home green at Windy Hill.
Historically it has been a venue where the A’s have struggled and the hoodoo lives on.
“They’ve definitely got the wood on us, especially on their home ground at Windy Hill,” Loughlin said. “It’s always a tough place to play and they’ve touched us up over there the last four or five years.”
While the overall result was a bitter pill to swallow, there were plenty of positives for Altona to take away from the game.
New recruit Dion Warnecke has made a strong early impression.
“He’s been really good for us since he came across from Werribee this year,” Loughlin said.
“He had a really solid game for us.”
Reed Chanter has evolved into a leader at Altona, even though he does not have the tag.
“He’s not a skip, but he leads up front and gives his skip a good start every week,” Loughlin said. “He’s got a really good attitude, he’s a good team player and has plenty of voice.
“He’s always getting around everyone and it’s all positive.”
It will be two desperate 1-2 sides when Altona hosts newly promoted Deer Park at Civic Parade on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a bit of a local rivalry now,” Loughlin said. “We need to go 2-2 because we certainly don’t want to go 1-3.”
Meanwhile, Yarraville-Footscray suffered its first loss of the season, taken down 110-83 by MCC away. The Bulldogs will be involved in a top-of-the-ladder clash with top side Melbourne at Francis Street on Saturday.