Mathoura learned an important lesson on Saturday — you can’t afford to give good teams a sniff.
At the midway point of the final term, the Timbercutters looked set to cause one of the biggest boilovers of the Picola & District League season when they led ladder leaders Strathmerton, but then the Dogs took over.
As Strathmerton began to make their final charge their better players began to get their hands on the footy as they kicked the game’s last five goals to win by 16 points.
Final score, Strathmerton 11.10 (76) to Mathoura 9.6 (60).
Timbercutters playing-coach Darcy Robinson said the gap of experience between the two sides proved to be the difference.
‘‘Experienced heads are worth their weight in gold,’’ Robinson said.
‘‘Their older guys used their smarts to control the footy and take the game away from us. As a young side we probably panicked at the most crucial times.
‘‘Some people believe there is no such thing as a good loss, but this will be extremely valuable for us moving forward in a year which has been all about learning.’’
Despite falling away in the game’s dying stages, Robinson was pleased with how his side responded after performing well below par in previous weeks.
‘‘I was pleased with how well we stuck to our structures,’’ he said.
‘‘It is an area where we have let ourselves down in the past against even the weaker sides. But mentally it was as strong as we’ve been all year.
‘‘We could have easily dropped our heads when Strathmerton kicked the first couple of goals but we showed we were up for the fight.
‘‘It proves this group of players have come a long way in a short amount of time.’’
Two straight narrow losses have hurt Mathoura’s chances of making the finals for the first time in nine years, but Robinson says this week’s bye gives them the chance to refresh for the final four games of the season.
‘‘We’ve put ourselves back in the pack but we’re confident of making a run,’’ he said.
‘‘Results in other games are going to have to go our way so it is going to be a rollercoaster finish.’’
It was a great day for the Mathoura reserves, coming up against a quality team in Strathmerton and taking home a six point win.
From the get go the Timbercutters stood up to the task and hunted the opposition relentlessly.
With goals not easy to come by for both teams the stage was set for a great game of football, with scores level at half time.
A tight third term saw the home side hold a 10 point lead going into the final term, with a late charge from the Dogs causing some nervous moments for Mathoura.
However inaccuracy in front of goal saw the Timbercutters hold on, with Strathmerton kicking 1.4 to one goal to close out the game.
Final score, Mathoura 4.7 (31) to Strathmerton 3.7 (25).
Mathoura’s Luke Bonnett and Clint Atkinson were solid through the middle and the back six all played their roles in an outstanding win.