The Western Jets have been unceremoniously dumped from the 2018 TAC Cup finals.
The Jets were shown no mercy by the rampaging Oakleigh Chargers in a 120-point hammering at Ikon Park on Sunday.
It was a performance from the Chargers that will send shivers down the spine of the rest of the premiership contenders and provide a lasting bitter taste for the Jets over the summer.
Jets coach Torin Baker said the Chargers had “completely out-classed” his side.
“I thought their ability to transition and their work rate to get goal-side was outstanding, some of the best I’ve seen,” he said.
“It was a flattening way to finish what has been a pretty good year.”
The Western Jets arrived switched on and ready to go.
They trailed by 19 points at quarter-time, but there was not a lot to separate the sides in general play.
But from that point on, the game turned into a Jets nightmare.
Oakleigh piled on seven goals in the second quarter to lead by 59 at half-time and blew the lead out to 91 by three-quarter time.
The Chargers lived up to their name, charging coast to coast on numerous occasions for easy goals on Jet turnovers. They completed the rout with a five-goal-to-nil last quarter.
Baker admitted that Oakleigh was a different kettle of fish to the one the Jets had beaten in round seven.
“You’ve got to note with Oakleigh that for much of the year they have a lot of players out through school football,” Baker said.
“We knew that we had to take them on their last two weeks because that’s when they had all their players back and they accounted for Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 100 points and they beat Sandringham in really poor conditions by close to 10 goals.”
Xavier O’Halloran, likely to be drafted later this year, could hold his head high for the Western Jets on a disappointing day.
“He’s got proven ability, as you’d want from your captain, to get your hands dirty when things are tough,” Baker said. “He’s had an outstanding year for us.”
Buku Khamis was solid in the defence and Jack Watkins had some good moments in the midfield. Aside from that trio, Baker was blunt in his assessment: “We didn’t have too many winners”.
Baker hopes the sour ending does not overshadow a strong season for the Western Jets, which saw them finish with a 9-7 regular season record and a win in a wildcard game.
“Everyone was disappointed after the game, but it was also an opportune time to reflect on the year and thank everyone that has been involved,” Baker said.
“There was a lot of appreciation for one another and gratitude for all the hard work that goes into a season, so it was mixed feelings, I suppose.”