DARREN Ogier hailed the Murray Bushrangers’ “spirited” effort, but a poor third quarter let them down against the Dandenong Stingrays.
The Bushies were in it to the end and had the chance to snatch victory before losing by 20 points.
“The boys could have easily slipped into submission, but it was fantastic the way they fought back,” Ogier said.
“If they had made more of their opportunities in the last 10 minutes the result might have actually been different.
“It was a spirited effort to get back into the game, but the third quarter was unacceptable and cost us the game, accountability fell right off the scale.
“To give a team space they’re going to make you pay and that’s what happened.”
The Stingrays kicked 5.7 in that third term to the Bushrangers’ 2.0.
With an inexperienced team and a 5am bus trip, it was always going to be tough for the Bushrangers to back up last week’s win over the Northern Knights, but Ogier said there were no excuses.
“We attacked the ball pretty well and were able to make one on ones that kept us right in the game,” he said.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t keep that intensity or concentration up for the whole game.”
Myrtleford’s Lachie Dale played his first game and showed plenty of promise, taking the game on and handling the ball well.
Defender Connor Brown was also impressive, as was Wangaratta’s Murray Waite in the midfield.
Ogier was confident the Bushies could bounce back, particularly with the national championships over and 14 players due back from NSW, Vic Country and VFL duties.
“And we’ve found some players during that time, so that’s also pleasing,” Ogier said.
“The league is very fluid and we have to keep moving forward — you’ve got to continue to promote and develop players and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.
“It’s going to be difficult to make the eight, but that’s our main aim.”