Sunshine displayed a competitive spirit in the first half of its Western Region Football League division 1 match against Altona.
But that simply made the 100-point defeat at the hands of the new ladder leader at Kinder Smith Reserve on Saturday even harder to swallow.
The Kangaroos matched the Vikings’ hunger and tenacity to be in the hunt at half-time, but they fell away dramatically.
A 22-point deficit at the mid-point blew out to ghastly triple figures for the Roos by full-time.
Kangaroos coach Adam Contessa was disappointed with his team’s lack of fight in the second half.
“At half-time, it was three-and-a-bit goals the difference,” Contessa said. “We took it to them for half a game. We were really competitive in contested ball and all the hard team things.
“What we dished up in that second half wasn’t acceptable.”
Sunshine was dismal in the second half.
The Kangaroos deviated from their high-pressure football and Altona led them a merry dance. Had the Vikings kicked straight – the visitors finished with 20.24, including 13.16 in the second half – the outcome could have been a whole lot worse for the Kangaroos.
“The work rate as a whole dropped off after half-time,” Contessa said. “With good sides, you can’t allow easy ball.”
Sunshine has sorely missed the on-field leadership of captain Ben McInneny and the target of full forward Cam Holdsworth.
The Kangaroos simply do not have the depth of the front-running sides to cover such significant outs.
McInneny, who is recovering from a hip injury, and Holdsworth, who has been out with a hamstring, could be back in time for Sunshine’s next game – against Hoppers Crossing on June 15.
“With the depth of our list at the moment, it hurts when we lose quality players,” Contessa said.
“The week off will do them a world of good and we should get them back after the break.”
Too much was left to too few for Sunshine on Saturday.
Declan Moloney did a power of work in the ruck, Harvey Daniher tried his heart out at centre half-back and Shaun Kostizen fought hard all the way to final siren in the back
“It was a real hard one to pick our best players today,” Contessa said.
Such is the closeness of the season, Sunshine is 2-5 after seven rounds – but only one game out of the top five.
The month following the break will see the Kangaroos face top four sides Hoppers Crossing, Werribee Districts, Spotswood and Deer Park. That series could shape their destiny for the season.
Meanwhile, Deer Park has tumbled from top spot after a 17-point loss to Spotswood.
St Albans cruised to a 191-point win over cellar dweller Albion, while Caroline Springs went down by 50 points to Hoppers Crossing, but holds on to fifth spot.
In division 3, Albanvale scored a percentage-boosting 168-point win over bottom side North Sunshine.
Sunshine Heights made it four straight victories with an 88-point win over Wyndham Suns.