Murray Bushrangers have suffered a cruel blow after Western Jets powered home in the last quarter to deny the Bushrangers an elimination final victory.By Damen Francis
It was a valuable lesson, learned at the cruellest hour.
Murray Bushrangers led for almost the entirety of its TAC Cup elimination final against Western Jets at Princes Park, only to be overrun at the last.
The Jets scored four goals to the Bushrangers’ three behinds in the final term to win by nine points.
A shattered Bushrangers coach Darren Ogier said his troops did everything, but cross the finish line.
‘‘We were probably in front for 98 per cent of game time, but it doesn’t matter how much of the game you’re in front it only matters if you’re in front at the end,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘It’s a learning thing, regardless. If you’re in that situation again you’ve certainly got to take that opportunity, because we’re now out of the finals.
‘‘It’s certainly something I hope all those boys can take on board going forward into their footy repertoire, to make sure they don’t let games slip.’’
The Bushrangers piled on seven goals to four in a breathless opening term.
The open footy came to a grinding halt after that with the two sides managing just two more goals apiece to three-quarter time in a genuine arm wrestle, before the heartbreaking final act.
‘‘Our boys were fantastic. They were very gallant and we had a very good football team in Western absolutely bamboozled in the first half, with our play and our match-ups,’’ Ogier said.
‘‘We really wanted to put them under as much pressure as we could and then we wanted to move the ball really quickly and continue to feed the ball off as much as we could, even inside 50, and that worked well for us.
‘‘In the end we just ran out of gas a little bit and we started to not take our opportunities and they kept coming at us.’’
A-grade midfielders Jarman Impey, Michael Gibbons and Nick Holman were leaders all day, Joe Cousins was ‘‘back to his high-flying best’’ in defence and Shepparton United bottom ager Nick Sneyd stood tall in a big game — a terrific sign for a young player.
Ogier said it was difficult to reflect on the season so soon after its conclusion, but the word ‘‘proud’’ was the first that sprung to his mind.
‘‘We’ve sort of used the analogy of a bit about the Murray River and how it just keeps coming and that’s what our boys have done all year,’’ he said.
‘‘They’ve just kept turning up and working hard together and doing whatever they have to do to improve.
‘‘They’re really tired with the travel and all that and that happens to all the country teams at the end of the year, so to get through to the finals is a great effort.’’
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