Rupertswood’s first senior Riddell District Football League grand final ended in heartache, after the team fell short against Macedon.
Having built as the finals series progressed, the Sharks entered the match confident they could at least mix it with the Cats, who went into Sunday’s match as favourites.
The Sharks pushed them all day and every time the Cats looked like getting away, they reeled them in to keep the contest close.
Unfortunately, the Sharks couldn’t find the late goals they needed, losing 11.14 (80)-10.7 (67).
Sharks coach Kevin Fitzgerald said sometimes playing good football wasn’t enough at the end of the day.
“I was really proud of our boys and I thought they worked exceptionally hard,” he said.
“I thought they deserved it and there has to be a winner and loser in every contest, unfortunately we were the loser today. I thought Macedon were good but I thought we were good too.
“I can’t fault our boys, they’ve come a long way since I’ve been at Rupo. Hopefully we’ve earnt a little bit of respect and can build on that the next few years.”
The Sharks started the day with a big win, as ruckman Dean Putt was declared fit to play after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in the qualifying final.
Once on the field, the Sharks started slowly before their best period of the game in the second quarter when they kicked five goals in a row.
Fitzgerald said the half-time siren came at the wrong time for them.
“You have periods when you’re on top, periods when you’re not,” he said. “Half-time came at a bad time for us as I thought we had them under control and started to score.
“It would have been nice to go another five minutes.”
The Cats took control of the game in the second half and despite some hard contested football from the Sharks they couldn’t find the goals they required.
In the end the Cats had too many players that could stand up when needed.
Fitzgerald said despite the loss they would take a lot out of this season and would be better for it the next couple of years.
“You’re looking at a list of local boys. If you took Chambo [Brett Chambers] out of it, the average age would be 21.
“We had 10 debutantes and 42 players throughout the year.
“I’m proud of our boys.”
The game was Fitzgerald’s last as coach of the side after two years in charge. Assistant coach Nick Ash has been appointed coach.
“They came to me 10 weeks ago, asking what are your intentions for next year,” Fitzgerald said.
“I said if we win the flag I’m walking away, if we don’t win the flag I would like the opportunity to coach next year.
“They decided not to take that option. I’ve sat on it for 10 weeks and I’m filthy on the decision.
“I’ve had the toughest 10 weeks of my coaching career.”
It was a tough day all round for the Sharks as their under-18.5s lost to Wallan.
For more pictures of both games, CLICK HERE