The Calder Cannons won’t feature in TAC Cup finals for the first time since 2008 – their season coming to a disappointing end on Saturday.
The Cannons finals hopes rested on them winning against long-time rivals Western Jets and other results falling their way.
The Cannons led by six points at three-quarter time, but the Jets made the most of the wind in the final quarter, kicking five goals to one to win 13.8 (86)-10.5 (65).
Cannons coach Andrew Johnston said it was a disappointing end to the season.
“Credit to the Western Jets,” he said. “We weren’t able to perform in the contest as we would have liked.
“We kicked four goals in the first quarter, but let them kick a couple of goals and not capitalise as much as we would have liked.
“We knew at three-quarter time one goal wasn’t enough, we needed to be three to four goals up.
“We weren’t able to hold on as they charged home.”
Jean-Luc Velissaris, who has played in the VFL this season, kicked seven goals to be the Cannons best in what was his last TAC Cup game.
Bottom-ager Mason Fletcher was the other standout for the Cannons.
Johnston said consistency proved to be the deciding factor in the Cannons failing to make finals.
“We got off to a poor start and lost the first six games,” he said.
“Then we went win, lose, win, lose … it was a really up and down year.”
The Cannons will now look ahead and are hopeful a few players will be drafted to the AFL later this year.
Johnston said Noah Bolta should be a shoe-in to be drafted, while Dylan Landt, Mitchell Podhasjsi and Aiden Tilly would be in the mix.
He also hoped that skipper Brad Bernacki would be in the mix.
Bernacki was the Cannons best player this season and took his game to another level after missing Vic Metro selection.
Johnston expects Bernacki to win the club’s best and fairest award.
On Sunday night, Bernacki finished second in the TAC Cup Morrish Medal, two votes behind Oakleigh Chargers’ Jack Higgins. Bernacki polled 20 votes and was five votes clear of third place. Noah Bolta and Mitch Podhajski were both named in the TAC Cup team of the year. Podhajski was named at full-back and Bolta at centre half-forward.
Johnston, who has coached the Cannons for the past three seasons, said he would love to have the job again next season.
“I’m keen to go around again,” he said.
“It’s a year by year thing and we’ll assess that over the next few weeks.”