Sunbury Lions’ coach Ben Jordan said their 28-point Ballarat Football League elimination final loss against Redan was reflective of where the team sat this season.
For most of the season there was a gap between the top four sides, including Redan, and the chasing pack which was headed by the Lions.
On Saturday, the Lions stuck with Redan for the first half and even held a two point half time lead. After half time, it was all Redan, who kicked seven goals to three to win, 13.13 (91)-9.9 (63).
Jordan said a poor third quarter proved to be the down fall.
Like many times this season, the Lions weren’t able to match it with the top sides for all four quarters.
Jordan said it showed where the Lions are at as a team.
“We came into the second half with all the momentum, but we allowed them to get away in the third term.
“The third quarter hurt us badly and Redan were able to close out the game comfortably. They won a lot more of the contested footy.
“On a bit of reflection, we’re not quite there with the top sides.
“There was three games between us the top four sides and we have a bit of ground to catch up.”
Jordan said their key defenders in Pat MacDonough, Bradley Mundy and Reece Wood all stood strong in the loss.
While they kept their players quite, the Lions were hurt around the stoppages.
Alik Magin and Grant Valles kicked three goals each for the Lions.
Despite a first round finals exit, Jordan said there were lots of positives to take from the season including giving several players their first opportunity at senior football.
He said Mick Edwards, one of those players, took another step on Sunday, showing he could play finals footy at this level.
Jordan said the focus in the off season would be trying to bridge the gap between them in the top sides.
He said would look at re-signing the current playing group in the next few weeks, with majority of the conversations so far been positive.
“We can’t afford to lose the numbers we lost last year,” he said.
“Hopefully we can maintain those guys and hopefully get in a few more guys to fill holes.
“Hopefully we’re building to something.”
The Lions reserves’ season is also over, after they were left to rue poor kicking at goal in the second half against Melton South.
The Lions led at half-time by 16 points, but couldn’t convert in front of goal in the second half, kicking 1.9.
The Panthers made the most of it, coming from 21 points down at three-quarter time to win 10.10 (70)-6.18 (54).