IT wasn’t that they lost, but that Deniliquin Rovers came so close to winning that hurt the most.
The Rovers led at every change for the first time in a difficult season, but couldn’t make the most of opportunities as Mathoura overran them 8.14 (62) to 6.15 (51).
“It probably hurt more because we were in a winning position,” Rovers coach Luke Moodie said.
“We’re having a season that’s not great so when you get close it’s disappointing — especially as we were all about backing up from last week’s win.”
Both sides squandered opportunities but it was the Rovers who opened the game with the breeze.
“We had a bit of a breeze advantage but kicked 3.6 in the first quarter,” Moodie said.
“The second was a good battle but in the third we really let ourselves down.”
Moodie said the Rovers had 13 inside 50s but only came away with seven points, giving Mathoura every chance to come back — which they did in the final term, helped by the Rovers’ worst unforced errors count for the season.
“You just can’t afford to do that whether you’re playing the league’s best or bottom side,” Moodie said.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, and at the end of the day it came down to blatant, costly errors.”
But if the name of the game is showing improvement, that’s one area that the Rovers can be proud of.
Last time around Mathoura delivered a 106-point thrashing to the Rovers.
“We are getting better but to have backed that win up would have been real progression and a real step forward,” Moodie said.
“But you can’t buy experience — when you haven’t been winning sometimes it’s hard to find a way.
“You need to make the most of every opportunity and we just didn’t and it ended up hurting us.
“You want the boys to get rewards for their efforts, and to get those wins so they can really believe in that improvement.
“But we nearly had two in a row when no one gave us a chance to win a game for the year — it’s full credit to the boys.”
Rhys McCulloch made an impact in his return from university.