LAVINGTON coach James Saker is adamant the Panthers are good enough to end Albury and Yarrawonga’s dominance of the league, despite dropping their fifth straight game against the Tigers on Saturday.
Lavington again fell short against a league heavyweight with a 23-point loss in the wet at the weekend.
Saker, who was outstanding, was far from happy with another gallant loss.
But he was optimistic the Panthers could turn it around.
“I’m not satisfied with how we went and if there are players who are, then they’ve really got to re-assess,” Saker said.
“Albury is a really good side and you’ve got to give them full credit for the win because they out-worked us and played a better brand of footy.
“But I’m really confident our best can beat them.
“That’s my role now as coach, to instil that confidence in them that it’s possible.
“I think they know that but we can’t accept the mediocrity that got served up for periods of the game.”
The Panthers are still to regain Myles Aalbers and Luke Garland from injury, while Doug Strang medallist Adam Prior played his worst game for the season on Saturday.
Lavington’s reserves enjoyed a healthy win over the Tigers, with ruckman Nick Molkentin, Lachie Boyd and young gun Chris Annett all impressive.
Saker said he wouldn’t be afraid to make changes.
“From a match committee point of view, it’s about being really pro-active in rewarding guys who commit to the standards we need,” he said.
“There’s a lot for us to be positive about and a lot to look forward to, but we can’t be satisfied with our effort.
“There’s certainly enough pressure and depth in the squad to make guys who aren’t committing to the standards worried about their position.”
While Lavington undoubtedly controlled periods of the game, Saker said there was no doubt his team had fallen short.
“We expected to win,” he said. “We expect to win every game we play, if we apply ourselves in the way we want to play.
“For mine, it wasn’t a question of whether we were going to come here and compete.
“I was really confident we were going to do that.
“What I wanted was for us to really put them under pressure by take our chances.
“We didn’t do that.”
I’m really confident our best can beat them ... There’s a lot for us to be positive about and a lot to look forward to, but we can’t be satisfied with our effort.
Albury Tigers told to turn up the heat
ALBURY co-coach Daniel Maher has put the Tigers on notice ahead of Saturday’s trip to Myrtleford.
He said they couldn’t afford a slip-up after their 23-point win over Lavington.
Albury handed the Panthers with their first loss of the season on Saturday but Maher warned his troops not to undo that good work with a poor performance against the winless Saints.
Myrtleford famously upset the Tigers in 2012, a fact not lost on the coaching staff.
“We certainly want the momentum to continue,” Maher said.
“It doesn’t matter where you play, if you don’t show up with your A-game in this competition, you’ll get turned up.
“Myrtleford has certainly stretched us a couple of times.
“But, hopefully, we can build on the confidence from today.”
The Tigers are yet to taste defeat this year but are also yet to dominate a game in its entirety.
Maher said an area that lifted markedly at the weekend was “our midfield pressure”.
“The last few weeks we’ve been more offensive than defensive in there.
“We just asked the midfield blokes to grab a man and do the little things we haven’t done the last few weeks.”
Some gloss was taken off the Tigers’ win, with young defender Andrew Dennis suffering a knee injury that could be serious. Maher said the club would find out more this week.
“It may be a hyper-extension but he’s heard a noise,” Maher said.
“We’re hoping for the best, we’ll get it assessed and go from there.”
All Australians Josh Maher and Luke Wells were late withdrawals for the Tigers because of illness but should return this week.
“When Josh rings me at 7.15 on a Saturday morning, you know something is wrong,” Maher said with a laugh.