Warragul Industrials coach Stephen Ryan knows he’s heading up a long-term project, but that doesn’t mean results like Saturday’s narrow defeat to Korumburra Bena don’t hurt.
The Dusties started brightly and had their chances at Korumburra Showgrounds, registering more scoring shots and enjoying their share of the play, only to let themselves down with a sloppy second term and they ultimately fell short 13.3 (81) to 10.9 (69).
“The ones you can win are more disappointing than the ones you can’t,” Ryan said.
“We should have been in front at half-time but our second quarter let us down. After such a good first quarter we relaxed a bit and let them get away from us.
“If we played the way we did against Bunyip the week before we might have won.”
The second half was an arm wrestle, with the visitors getting within a kick midway through the third term, before a goal from Jamie Cann on the stroke of three-quarter-time gave the Giants some breathing space.
Ryan used his final address to warn his troops to keep their heads in the last term but ill-discipline proved costly as a 50m penalty broke the visitors’ momentum at the wrong time and the Giants regained control to run out the game.
Josh Hill was named Korumburra Bena’s best, with his overhead and intercept marking a feature throughout the second half, time and again thwarting Dusties attacks.
Brad Monson and Bailey Patterson (two goals) were also prominent for the home side.
Shane Brewster was a clear standout for the Dusties, managing four goals while also taking on plenty of the grunt work in the middle of the ground.
“He’s really stepped up and he had to with the young blokes around him. He has to work harder and can’t push forward like he wants to, but he’s been willing to do that,” Ryan said.
Tyson Bale and Russell Ware were others to catch the eye, while Cooper Minichiello impressed at centre-half-forward, in a role he’s still learning on the job.
It was the club’s most competitive showing so far, following a goalless performance against Garfield and a 40-point loss to Bunyip, and while Ryan was pleased with the endeavour, he said matching the quicker ball movement of the teams around them was the next step.
“I’ve been impressed with the pressure we’re putting on and the way they’ve attacked the footy but we’ve got to clean up our skills,” he said.
“The guys have got some belief now and we’ve got better each game.
“It’s frustrating for supporters but if the players continue to show effort, we can’t ask for more than that and if I continue to see improvement in individuals and as a team then we know we’re on the right track.”
Over on the netball courts, the Giants steadily built their lead in every quarter, before eventually winning 63-48.
Chloe Hogg led the way for the Giants with 39 goals, with Kimberly Hillberg adding 24, while Ella Spencer and Lara Commadeur – in her 150th club game – scored 24 each for the Dusties.
Kilcunda Bass v Tooradin Dalmore
Andrew Dean took centre stage with a season-high haul of eight goals in Tooradin Dalmore’s 23.15 (153) to 3.7 (25) victory away to Kilcunda Bass.
Nicholas Lang added six and Julian Suarez three as the Seagulls continued to adapt to their new surroundings and their attack edged ever closer to firing on all cylinders.
Eighteen-year-old Bradley Butler made his senior debut and impressed enough to be named Tooradin Dalmore’s best, with Dylan Wilson and the two main goalkickers next in line.
Connor Steel, Sam Watson and Tom West battled hard for the Panthers.
The Seagulls made light work of the Panthers on the netball courts, winning 71-10.
Bunyip v Inverloch Kongwak
Efficiency proved the difference at Bunyip Recreation Reserve, where Inverloch Kongwak stormed to a 45-point win.
Key forwards Toby Mahoney and Sam Gibbins booted three goals apiece, as the Sea Eagles made the most of their opportunities to claim the points 16.5 (101) to 9.12 (66).
The visitors started brightly and led by 27 points at the first change, but Bunyip fought back hard and could have been closer at the main break, registering three more scoring shots but trailing by 17 points.
Lachlan Scott, Jack Hutchinson and Oscar Toussaint were among the best for the Sea Eagles, with Duncan Proud, Will Papley and Jeb McLeod the standouts for the Bulldogs.
Inverloch Kongwak shaded a tight contest on the netball courts, 40-34.
Meg Evans (24 goals) and Kasey Teakle (12) combined well in attack for the Sea Eagles to hold off a remarkable solo effort from Bulldogs goaler Claire Ablett, who accounted for 32 of the home side’s 34 goals for the match.
Phillip Island v Garfield
After two away games to open their title defence, Phillip Island unfurled its premiership flag at Cowes Recreation Reserve ahead of a round three clash with Garfield.
The Bulldogs were without hard nuts Zak Vernon and Brendan Kimber but regained a trio from their grand final side in Jaymie Youle, Alex Officer and Jordan Patullo and it proved plenty enough to overcome the Stars.
Cam Pedersen (two goals) was the home side’s only multiple goal-kicker for the day, with Youle, Matt Wright and Eli Richards among the standouts in the 11.17 (83) to 4.5 (29) win.
The returning Michael Wallace, Nick Macente and Joel Morgan were best for the visitors.
The Stars put up a strong fight on the netball court, with Corinne Merrigan’s 29 goals not quite enough in the 61-40 defeat.
Emma Felsovary fired in the absence of Kelly O’Neill, converting 44 shots to go with Claise Janssen’s 17 to pace the Island.
Dalyston v Nar Nar Goon
Dalyston’s A Grade side hoisted its premiership flag and saluted with an eight-goal victory against Nar Nar Goon.
Jarney and Gemma Thomas starred with 30 goals and 15 respectively in the 45-37 win.
The Goon will take plenty of heart from their performance, having taken the game to the two-time reigning premiers, leading at quarter time and being within a goal and the final change.
Hollie Keysers (20) and Olivia Cope (17) both contributed strongly.
Unfortunately, a serious knee injury to star Magpies mid courter Hannah McRae took some of the shine off the occasion.
The visitors took their share of the spoils over on the football ground.
Troy McDermott got his season going with five goals in the 15.11 (101) to 4.12 (36) win.
The Goon broke away early and never looked back, with Trent Armour, Damon Hansen and Trent Noy all in good form.
Recruit Ryan Silver was good again for the Magpies, who were also well-served by Darcy Wilson and Harrison Wright.
Cora Lynn v Koo Wee Rup
Cora Lynn rounded out the weekend with another impressive win under lights at the Cobra Dome, this time against Koo Wee Rup.
Just as he did against Tooradin Dalmore in the season opener, Cobras forward Nathan Gardiner stood tall as the focal point in attack with seven goals in the 20.17 (137) to 10.11 (71) victory.
Gardiner’s offsider Nathan Langley chimed in with five goals and Jai Rout three, with co-captain Chris Johnson, Lochie Peluso and the returning Jeremy Monckton all prominent.
The Demons started brightly to lead at quarter-time, but a seven-goal-to-two second term left the visitors reeling and they were unable to find their way back into the game.
Jason Wells played a lone hand up top for the Demons with seven goals, with Matt Voss, Nathan Voss and Cody Miller never giving up.
The Demons were able to take some solace from a 41-31 win on the netball courts.
Chantelle Smith (19 goals) Melissa Filarski (13) and Steph Broadway (nine) were effective in attack, while Tyla Redwood (19 goals) battled hard for the home side.