Dissecting a loss north of 10 goals is the unenviable task facing Western Jets coach Torin Baker this week.
One aspect of the Jets’ 63-point loss to Oakleigh Chargers at Warrawee Park on Saturday that will provide Baker with a smile was the performance of bottom-age defender Stefan Radovanovic.
Radovanovic was earmarked as a player to watch for the Jets since the under-16s, but the Keilor junior has had an interrupted 12 months.
The 17-year-old was nursed through the second half of last season with injury and missed all the pre-season games this year.
But Radovanovic has managed to stay out of the medical room and play six games straight for the Jets, including a best-on-team display against the Chargers.
“We’re absolutely rapt with him,” Baker said. “He’s one that we’ve known about for a while, but he’s just had some durability issues and hadn’t had a decent run at it.
“He’s played the last six games in a row and he’s been in our best six players in nearly all of the games. We’re looking forward to what he is going to do for us over the next year and a half.
“He’s played all his footy with us as a defender, but we’ll look to change up his role at stages through the year to make sure he keeps increasing his versatility.
“He’s got excellent speed, really good judgment and just gives you 100 per cent every game.”
Buku Khamis and Cam Rayner backed up their Big V selections with quality outings for the Jets.
Khamis played as a permanent forward, working hard to provide a target and kicking two goals, even though the service inside 50 was not of the highest quality.
“While he may not have got as good a supply as what we would have liked, he certainly won his position up forward,” Baker said. “He looked very dangerous.”
With three goals, Rayner kicked half of the Jets’ six.
While it was not Rayner’s most consistent performance, he did show flashes of the brilliance that has him being talked about as a potential AFL draftee later this year.
“Cam did some of the things we’ve come to expect of him,” Baker said.
“He’s got the brilliance in his play and he always has good moments in a game.”
That is where the positives ended for the Jets.
They kicked themselves out of the contest with 2.7 in the first quarter and never recovered.
“The first quarter, we just sort of wasted a lot of very easy opportunities,” Baker said.
“This has been a theme across a few games and we’re aware of where we’re at with that.
“We’re just not putting enough scoreboard pressure on the opposition and we’re not a good enough team at the moment to make the most of our chances.”
Khamis and Rayner will be joined in the Vic Metro squad by Jets teammates Lachlan Fogarty and Tristan Xerri.
Vic Metro’s first game at the under-18 national championships will be against WA at Domain Stadium in Perth on June 18.