The stage was set and hours of preparation completed, but Murray Bushrangers could not transfer their work on the training track to game day.
In the first round of this year’s TAC Cup season, the Bushies did not live up to their potential as a finals side when taking on Gippsland Power.
Coach Leon Higgins said, while his side had enjoyed a solid pre-season, not much came to the fore Sunday.
‘‘We didn’t see a lot of what we concentrated on in pre-season, we were untidy with the ball and lacked pressure,’’ he said.
‘‘Losing players throughout the game didn’t help and contributed to the blowout in the end.’’
The Bushrangers went down by 44 points, with the Power scoring 4.9 to 1.3 in the final term to heavily skew the margin.
Murray had its fitness tested as injuries struck down two players including Shepparton United forward Zane Barzen.
Barzen took the field for less than a quarter, hurting his ankle, an injury that should not sideline the gun for more than two weeks.
Tatura’s Charlie Hill received a knock to his hip after colliding with a teammate that ended his debut game, but that should not stop him from taking to Deakin Reserve on Friday in a home-town clash.
But it was another debutant, Shepparton’s Lachlan Ash, who showed relentless efforts for his side to be named best afield.
‘‘Lachie Ash played well off half-back and we had to rely on the half-back line a lot,’’ Higgins said.
‘‘We didn’t use the ball particularly well and were scored against on turnovers putting a lot of pressure on defenders.’’
●Murray Bushrangers’ youth girls’ side could not be separated from its opponent, playing out a 28-all draw against Gippsland.
Goulburn Valley products tore up the field during the encounter, with co-captain Bec Webster the Bushies’ best in the low scoring tussle.
Mooroopna’s Tamara Smith and Shepparton’s Grace Egan put their best foot forward, while Olivia Barber was potent on the scoreboard with three goals.