Keilor’s finals chances are hanging by a thread following a final-quarter fade-out against Maribyrnong Park in Essendon District Football League premier division on Saturday.
With fifth-placed Keilor taking on the fourth-placed Maribyrnong Park, it was a crucial game in deciding finals places.
The home side kept it tight for three quarters, but faded late to go down 13.13 (91)-9.14 (68).
The loss leaves Keilor two games plus percentage outside of the top four, with coach Mick McGuane left to rue some costly injuries.
“It’s been a frustrating year – I think everyone understands that,” he said.
“We were down to 20 players after half-time against a top four side and without two of our A-grade midfielders – and that has a huge impact on the side.”
In difficult and windy conditions, it was the Lions who made the most of their chances early to have an 11-point lead at the first change. Keilor, the home side, kicked just 1.4 for the term. The two sides traded blows in the second quarter, but Keilor could not significantly bridge the gap as the Lions maintained their advantage.
Experienced Keilor midfielders Jamie Papalia and Luke Cartelli were ruled out of the game at half-time with injuries, exposing the young Keilor side at a crucial time.
While Keilor was able to stay in touch going into the last quarter, the injury impact on rotations proved telling, with Maribyrnong Park kicking four goals to one in the final term.
McGuane said his players had only themselves to blame.
“The scoreboard suggests we were close enough, but you kick 1.7 in the last and you’re not going to win many games,” he said. “We had our chances and enough of them were gettable.”
With four games to play, McGuane is staying positive.
“It’s [finals] still mathematically possible,” he said. “We’re endeavouring to win four games and see what happens. We can’t control who beats who, but we’ve got to control our own destiny and win four straight.
“If we do that, we’re a realistic chance to be a part of it. If we don’t, then we lick our wounds and regather our thoughts and start recruiting for next year.”
In division 1, Taylors Lakes overcame a scoreless opening quarter to run over the top of Oak Park for a 15.11 (101)-6.19 (55) win.
Hillside was no match for ladder leader Glenroy as the Sharks fell to a 9.15 (69)-4.11 (35) defeat.
Hillside still holds on to third place, while Taylors Lakes remains in fourth and a game clear of Airport West.