JASON Akermanis and James Saker both lamented poor ball use after Lavington won a turnover-riddled contest with North Albury at Bunton Park by 28 points on Saturday.
The Panthers did enough to keep themselves in the hunt for top spot with their eighth successive victory.
But the Hoppers could have made things very interesting, had they made the most of their opportunities.
North Albury coach Akermanis berated the Hoppers’ skills after the game.
“We just kept turning it over,” he said.
“Just dumb mistakes from good players.
“Our skill execution was nowhere near where it needed to be.
“We’ve been working on it all year.
“Their pressure was OK but we played into their hands.
“Look, they’re a good side and played better team footy than we did.
“But we had a lot of blokes not working for each other and that’s something we need to look at.”
Lavington coach Saker, who had his hands full minding future North Albury star Josh Min-ogue, was happy enough with the win.
But he certainly wasn’t satisfied.
“I thought our good was really good,” Saker said.
“We had some really good passages of play and good momentum but I was really critical of our group for playing into their strengths when we were poor.
“We really played into their hands when we turned it over.
“We were turning it over in really dangerous spots.”
Adam Flagg was the prime example of making the most of his chances.
The talented Lavington forward kicked three goals in each half to finish with six for the game.
He took several telling marks and rarely wasted an opportunity in front of goal.
He was the difference.
Zach Hopper wore North Albury’ livewire Jarrah Maksymow like a glove and kept him goalless for the game.
Lavington charged clear early with four straight majors to finish the first quarter.
The Panthers then kicked four of the second quarter’s six goals and were well in control with a 31-point lead.
It was those bursts that proved the difference.
North Albury kicked consecutive majors just once for the entire game.
Senior Panthers Luke Garland, Adam Butler, Matt Pendergast and Saker all made an impact when they had to, with promising youngsters Connor Byrne and Brydan Hodgson also coming under notice.
Isaac Muller and David Miles worked tirelessly at the stoppages for the Hoppers.
Minogue, Mitch Mahady, Shaun Mannagh and Kristian Cary highlighted North Albury’s bright future with strong showings.
Akermanis said the Hoppers, who now look all but out of the finals race, needed to claim some scalps in the run home.
“We’ve got to just get our game going, beat some teams and get some confidence,” he said.
“We need it, we deserve it.”