The Sunbury Lions’ finals streak in the Ballarat Football League is likely to run out of legs this year.
While the Lions are a mathematical chance of finishing in the top six, they would need a lot to fall their way and a form turnaround.
The Lions are in eighth place, four points outside the top six.
They will play fifth-placed Melton and sixth-placed Lake Wendouree in the final two rounds.
The Lions’ tough times continued on Saturday against red-hot Bacchus Marsh.
The Cobras kicked six goals to none in the first quarter and that set the tone for the rest of the day.
The Lions never looked likely, with the Cobras winning 15.8 (98)-6.12 (48).
Lions coach Ben Jordan said it was a better performance than in their previous outing against Darley – but still not enough.
“A six goal to nothing first quarter, meant pretty much game over,” he said.
“They won a lot of contested footy and stoppage ball early.
“We talked about being accountable and I don’t think we were anywhere near good enough in that area early in the game.
“If we were able to go in, couple of goals down, we might have given ourselves a bit of a look.
“But, no – coming from too far back, they fully deserved it.”
Jordan said once the Lions found themselves that far behind the eight ball, it was always going to be hard.
He said the effort and intensity was better than displayed in the past few rounds, but in the end they made too many mistakes and were beaten around the contests.
Jordan said several players played football of a reasonable standard without there being any real standouts.
He said Patrick MacDonough and Reece Wood did good jobs down back, while Jack Hannett was clean with the football and Nathan Wood and Jack Landt showed glimpses.
The loss is the Lions third in a row.
Jordan said it was a disappointing position to be in.
“The guys have worked hard and at this time of the season, you want to be hitting some form, ideally looking towards finals,” he said.
While finals are still a chance, Jordan said they weren’t the coaching group’s focus.
He said the desire was straightforward – to get back on the winners’ list.
“We have two games ahead of us, Melton and Lake Wendouree,” he said.
“It’s two games we have to win and we’ll look at where it leaves us if we win.
“It’s [finals] not out of reach and we won’t say never.
“As a coaching group, the focus is on improving and beating Melton this week.”
The Lions’ A-grade netballers remain undefeated.
But they were pushed all the way by Bacchus Marsh, with the Lions eventuallly winning by 45-39.
Renee Hulls shot 25 goals, having come up from B grade, while Ruth Smith shot 20 goals from 22 attempts.
The win means the Lions will finish top, regardless of results in the final two rounds.