Slow start proves fatal for Numurkah

September 25, 2017

All above the head: Nathalia's Phil Carroll and Numurkah's Nathan Hicks collide on Saturday. The Purples proved too good for the Blues, with previous finals experience playing a huge role.

Numurkah co-coach Chris O’Dwyer lamented his side’s inability to charge out of the blocks on the biggest day of the year against its arch-rival.

‘‘Seven goals to one in the first quarter, in the end it was a game we probably should have never won after that start,’’ he said.

‘‘We just didn’t come to play and Nathalia did and they made us pay, and they made us pay on the scoreboard.

‘‘Then you look on the other side of it, when we did get the footy in hand we butchered it, and that might be to do with Nathalia’s pressure, but the scoreboard said 22 scoring shots to 17, which means it was a game we should never have won, but a game we could have won.’’

The Blues have not competed in a Murray Football League grand final since 2000 and O’Dwyer believed that it showed when it mattered most.

‘‘They were too good on the day, and I think they’ve been spruiking about their experience for weeks and weeks and it probably came to the fore at the start of the game when one side had to settle down first. I thought they settled first and made us pay on the scoreboard,’’ he said.

‘‘You can’t buy experience, it just comes with time and they’ve got a lot of older guys on their list that have played in a lot of premierships.

‘‘Our forward entries were poor and we were kicking helicopters to our forwards and we went far too wide, I don’t know why we just decided to go wide, and on this ground you can get lost out there and we needed to just get it down the corridor.’’

This campaign will still go down as a breakthrough one for the Blues, but O’Dwyer hoped his charges could find the drive to go again next year.

‘‘It will be really interesting to see where the playing group goes from here because everything that we’ve done this year has been player driven so it’s really up to the players to drive that again and get the club’s support,’’ he said.

‘‘Losing sucks, we’ll put it in the bank and remember how much that hurt watching Nathalia get up and win the flag and get the cup and get the medals.

‘‘It’s just something that we have to put in the back of the memory bank so we can act on that and fix it up next year.’’

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