There were no Queen’s Birthday celebrations for East Sunbury as it was brought back to reality in Essendon District Football League division 2.
Saturday’s match against the Northern Saints turned into a nightmare for the ladder leaders, as they were not only smashed on the scoreboard, but also with injuries.
After leading at quarter-time, the Thunder were put to the sword by the Saints.
The Saints were more focused and had come to play – and it showed on the scoreboard.
The Saints kicked 21 goals to two after the first break, to win 22.20 (152)-6.7 (43).
Thunder coach Steve Grey said the result was a wake-up call for the playing group.
“It just started off bad right from the start with Lucas [Shaw] hurting his knee before the first bounce.
“It’s a wake up call, but not the end of the world. I would say that we didn’t work as hard as them. They were hungry and put a lot of pressure on us.
“We didn’t really come to play. Full credit to Northern Saints, they came to play and were too good for us.”
Grey said they went away from their team structures and were made to pay as their efficiency was poor and they over-used the ball.
He said Callum Lever, Mitchell Johns and Tom Cree were the best in the loss.
Compounding the loss was a large injury toll.
The Thunder played the last 10 minutes with just 17 players on the field, but had as many as eight players who finished the game injured.
Diquan Williams and Timothy Hill were out of the game before quarter-time, while James Ellis didn’t play after half-time, all with leg injuries.
Shane Lindsay broke his hand in the second half, while Adam Galea also finished on the bench with a knee injury.
Lucas Shaw and Tom Galea were among those who struggled through the game.
With the injuries, Grey said they would reassess and have a look at other options to fill spots.
Despite the loss, the Thunder remains on top of the ladder with other results going their way.
Burnside Heights knocked off Moonee Valley, while Coburg Districts smashed Hadfield.
The Thunder sits a game clear of the other three sides in the top four. Their next two matches are against third-placed Roxburgh Park and fourth-placed Moonee Valley.
Grey said the competition had evened right up.
“We have to get back to the drawing board and get the group together,” he said. “We’re a very young group and we are going to have days like this. We’ll just sit down and have a look at what is best for us against Roxy.”