Burnside Heights has fallen just short of causing another upset in Essendon District Football League division 2.
In recent weeks, the Bears have knocked off a number of top four sides to rise into finals contention and were hoping to add the Thunder to that list.
They were able to stick with East Sunbury for most of the game, before the Thunder kicked away in the final quarter to win 15.11 (101)-13.4 (82).
Bears president Justin Peagram said the side was playing good football, but was unable to get the job done this time.
“We were so close, but we couldn’t get there,” he said. “We couldn’t capitalise on our chances. There was a few 50-50 calls that didn’t go our way and we finished three goals behind.”
Peagram said the difference in the end was the Thunder’s ability to get the ball out of the Bears’ forward 50 too easily. He said they weren’t helped by missing four or five players out of their best side.
Josh Covelli was the star for the Bears, kicking eight goals and moving to the top of the division’s goalkicking table.
Peagram said Anthony Fawcus, who kicked three goals, also played well in the forward half.
Logan Clegg did a good job in the ruck after Michael Wever was knocked out in the second quarter, while Marcus Giuliano and Theodore Sapountzis were also named in the best.
The loss and other results mean the Bears sit in sixth spot, two games outside the top four.
The Bears have already recorded their most wins in a season with four rounds still to go.
This week, they will face Moonee Valley.
“We’re playing good-quality football,” Peagram said.
“The job is up to us if we want to play finals. We have to win and hope other results go our way. We need to finish the year off. We’ve gained respect in the EDFL with what we’ve done.
“Hopefully, we can snaffle a few more wins and it gives us a massive springboard for next year.”
While the Bears’ senior team still has a few weeks remaining to learn its finals fate, nine other Bears sides have qualified for finals – a club record.
They includes the women’s side, which finished second on the ladder. It will play a qualifying final against Sunbury Kangaroos this week.
In men’s division 1, Taylors Lakes moved into the top four with a 20.8 (128)-7.10 (52) win against Westmeadows.
In the top four, the Lions replace Hillside, which lost to Tullamarine 11.13 (79)-8.14 (62).