It was the walking wounded in the Point Cook changerooms after a 41-point loss to Caroline Springs in their Western Region Football League division 1 clash at Saltwater Reserve on Saturday.
The Bulldogs ended the game with 17 fit players and it hampered their quest for a first victory since May 4.
Key forward Alex Grigg (ankle), a forward target, and defenders Ryan Butler (migraine) and Nicholas Weir (ankle) could not finish the game and two other players had to be treated for severe cramps.
After trailing by 36 points at half-time, Point Cook got back into the match with six goals to one in the third quarter to get within a kick at three quarter time.
The mounting injury toll hurt the Bulldogs in the last quarter, who were out-scored 40 to one. “We ran out of numbers unfortunately,” Bulldogs coach Ian Denny said.
Point Cook showcased some of its best football in the third quarter.
Despite kicking just two goals in the first half, the Bulldogs came out of the half-time break full of life and seemed hellbent on registering a come-from-behind victory.
The Bulldogs might have expended too much energy in the comeback, and coupled with the injuries, they had nothing left in the last term.
“We actually out-ran them in the third quarter, but we might’ve run ourselves into the ground,” Denny said.
Point Cook had some game-changing contributions in that quarter and there were no bigger moments than Connor McKenzie’s courageous contested mark and goal.
“Connor McKenzie sat under a footy that sat up high and took a contested mark against two opposition players and went back and kicked a goal,” Denny said.
“The team needed someone to inspire them a little bit and that was the sort of stuff they were doing.”
Matthew Poland and Jessi Lampi were the key igniters of Point Cook’s comeback.
Andrew Robinson, Poland and Lampi were superb in the middle with their strengths complementing each other well.
For all the good work Point Cook did in the third, it was not enough.
The Bulldogs remain second last with a 1-10 record, while Caroline Springs, 4-7, seem too far into the distance for them to catch.
Point Cook has a chance to close the gap on a side above it when it visits Sunshine.
Meanwhile, Point Cook is on the lookout for a new coach for 2020.
After six seasons in charge, Denny has announced he will be stepping down and clearing the path for the next coach.
“The better kids in the juniors are still two or three years away [from playing seniors], so I said to the club they need to look into securing their next coach now and form a basis for those kids coming through,” Denny said.
Elsewhere in division 1, Hoppers Crossing had a crucial 23-point win over in-form St Albans, while Werribee Districts came up short by 14 points at home against Altona.
In division 2, Point Cook Centrals crushed North Footscray by 50 and Wyndhamvale was too strong for Parkside in a 47-point win.
In division 3, Tarneit won a hotly contested local derby by 18 points over Wyndham Suns, while Glen Orden recorded a whopping 287-point win over North Sunshine.
MORE WRFL NEWS