Albion captain Josh Bench is not one to accept honourable losses.
The Cats struggled mightily in the first three games of the Western Region Football League division 1 season, losing all three outings by an eye-watering average margin of 194.
While the rest of the league is consigning the Cats to relegation barely a month into the season, Bench saw his side’s clash with newly-promoted Point Cook on Saturday as a real opportunity to enter the winners’ circle for the first time under new coach Lloyd Balshaw.
Albion failed in its quest for victory, going down to Point Cook by 37 points at JR Parsons Reserve, but regained some respect.
But Bench demands more of his team and was disappointed Albion could not reach its full potential, which he believes would have been enough to register a win.
“We thought we would’ve played better footy against someone like Point Cook, but we just couldn’t play the brand of footy that we wanted to play and that’s why we struggled in the end.”
It has been a tumultuous start to the season for Albion.
The Cats endured a player exodus over the summer and then lost coach Steve Lowerson on the eve of the season. Injuries continue to mount and with player stocks hit hard, numbers in the reserves side have dwindled.
The saviour for Albion could be Balshaw, who is slowly guiding the Cats’ ship back to safety.
Balshaw has been able to get a high percentage of players to fully commit to training and match days and keep spirits high.
“He’s done a wonderful job so far,” Bench said. “He’s done a great job considering the position he was chucked into at the last minute.”
Bench is urging senior footballers who are keen to pull on the boots again to get to training at JR Parsons Reserve on Tuesdays and Thursdays and put their hand up for selection.
“We’ve had people coming from here, there and everywhere,” Bench said.
“The numbers have started to pick up over the past couple of weeks.”
While the Point Cook loss was disappointing, there were positives for Albion.
The performances of brothers Aaron and Connor McPherson stood out. Aaron had plenty of touches in his new role on the ball, while Connor was superb in his rebounding role off half-back. Ladd John kicked two goals in an impressive display, while Bench and vice-captain Patrick Savage provided strong leadership.
Morale remains high at Albion.
“It’s bad during the game when you’re losing, but once they get over the loss, the spirits are high and it’s good to see the boys are happy to be around the club,” Bench said.
“We’ll fix a few things up during the week, do a few things to our structure and hopefully … get that win that we’re searching for against Caroline Springs next week.”
Elsewhere in division 1, Deer Park was on the end of a rare belting, going down by 68 points to Altona.
St Albans went down on home soil by 18 points to Werribee Districts, while Brian Lake kicked four goals in Caroline Springs’ 33-point win over Sunshine Kangaroos.
In division 3, Sunshine Heights, led by four goals from Mathew Serafin, pipped Braybrook in a thriller by five points.
Daniel Bartolo and Nathan Black kicked four goals apiece in Albanvale’s 47-point victory over Laverton, while North Sunshine suffered a 165-point loss to a rejuvenated Glen Orden.
MORE WRFL NEWS