JUST three points were the difference as the Murray Bushrangers fell agonisingly short of knocking off TAC Cup leaders Oakleigh Chargers.
Bushrangers’ coach Darren Ogier said his side had victory within their grasp but couldn’t convert though they led deep into the final term.
“Bad kicking is bad footy,” Ogier said.
“If we’d kicked 16.11 instead of 11.16 we win the game.
“If we kick 6.3 in the last term instead of 3.6 we win the game.
“We didn’t miss sitters — they were half opportunities but if you kick those you win the game.
“And we certainly had our chances and could have won.”
That alone will be enough to boost the Bushies who have begun to really show promising signs at TAC Cup level.
“We have certainly taken a lot of positives moving forward and we’re certainly getting closer to where we want to be,” Ogier said.
“The Chargers are the top side, but while it’s very positive we’re still disappointed we didn’t get the result we wanted — you’re never happy with a loss.
“We did a great deal of work to get back in front and unfortunately we let them get back in which was disappointing.
“But you want to take something out of every game and the trick is to implement that approach and attitude and character in our next outing in a fortnight.”
Ogier said he was very happy with the way the Bushrangers fought the game out to the end, and said it was one of the side’s best four-quarter efforts of the season.
“The fact that we could come back showed great resolve,” he said.
Albury’s Nick Coughlan (three goals) made his return from a stress fracture in his foot and had a big impact in the final term, bringing the Bushies close to an upset win.
“He ran out of gas early but finished strongly,” Ogier said.
“He kicked a goal and set up another and really did help us get back in the game.”
Isaac Muller also continued a stellar season in the ruck.
Ogier said Muller was easily the number one ruck in the competition on paper in terms of his stats.
After a week off the bushrangers will then face North Ballarat who have won their last four games, including against Sandringham Dragons this week with an imposing 24.3.
“They’ve been ridiculously good and it will be a huge challenge for us to knock their run on the head,” Ogier said.
“But we took a lot out of our game and we continue to develop as a group which they’ve done beautifully.
“We had six changes with the blokes coming in starting to really play at TAC Cup standard which is very promising.”