Brad Campbell bowed out as Shepparton coach after four years, but it was not in the manner he would have liked.
Having brought the Bears up from cellar dwellers to premiership contenders, the real estate agent thought his side could have delivered more value on the grandest of stages.
In their first senior Goulburn Valley League grand final appearance since 2000, the Bears fell well short with the outgoing coach putting the 54-point loss down to experience.
‘‘They were stronger, calmer and a little better under pressure than what we were, they were just too good on the day,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘They were able to take their chances, we leaked too many opportunities, we didn’t defend well enough and in the end, I just think it was a bad day of football for us.’’
The Bears kicked with the breeze in the first term after Kyabram won the toss, but managed just one goal, a period of the game the frustrated coach felt his side needed to capitalise on.
‘‘We definitely needed to get another two or three goals there at least, we had to put a little bit of scoreboard pressure on,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘When they went forward they capitalised in the second, they moved the ball quickly and I think they had 18 more inside 50s, so it just shows the difference in experience during the big games — they got the job done and we couldn’t.’’
Campbell and Bombers coach Paul Newman have played together and faced off on a number occasions over the years on a sporting field, but the Bears leader praised his old foe for the way he has assembled a great team.
‘‘It is bloody hard to win a premiership and to do it two years in a row and in the manner they have is incredible,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘Paulo has put together a terrific team, they are well coached, they controlled the ball, moved it well and even bullied us at the stoppages.’’
In his final post-match speech, Campbell, near the centre of Deakin Reserve, rallied his troops together to offer a sign of encouragement and praise for all that they have achieved.
‘‘I just wanted to tell them how proud I am of them, they have been fantastic, their desire to work for each other, commit to the club, the process and the dream of winning a flag has been exceptional during my time,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘A flag may or may not come in the future, but like that saying goes, ‘you may have to lose one before you can win one’.’’
Campbell reiterated his sentiments for the club and the progression he has seen from his players across the past four years, despite not capturing an elusive premiership.
‘‘We’ve had enormous growth from this group, this year in particular, they have grown as footballers, as people and unfortunately, they couldn’t reap the rewards from that (yesterday),’’ Campbell said.