TALLANGATTA league coach Ryan Richardson has slammed a lack of commitment from players in the competition after it went down to the Ovens and King by 29 points.
Richardson said more than a dozen ruckmen bypassed the opportunity to play at W.J Findlay Oval on Saturday with the league forced to call on Kiewa-Sandy Creek reserve grade player Mark Hortle in the 18.7 (115) to 12.14 (86) defeat.
Trent Castles (five goals), Heath Northey and Lee Dale were among the few winners for the Tallangatta league, which had its back to the wall from the outset having conceded eight goals to two in the opening quarter.
The visitors closed the gap to seven points at half-time but that was as close as they got as the Ovens and King forward line ran amok with Jeremy Wilson (five), Jess Cosiatos (five) and Corey Smith (four) kicking 14 goals between them.
Kane Herbert and Jordy Hansted were instrumental in the win from the midfield while Trevor Edwards’ move onto Castles in the second half proved a masterstroke by Ovens and King coach Michael Newton.
Richardson was left to lament a lack of player availability and commitment after the match, saying the league had the talent to match the Ovens and King but had not proved it.
“I went through 13 or 14 ruckmen who didn’t want to play today, so that was disappointing,” he said.
“I thought ‘Horts’ was fantastic, he has got a heart of gold and he never gives up.
“I know what he can do and we knew what we were going to get from him out there today.
“It’s disappointing. As a league, we know we can match them, we just have to commit.
“This week at training there probably wasn’t the full commitment that we would have liked.
“We know we’re good enough, we know we can be up there, we’ve just got to apply those little things.”
The Tallangatta league had eight more inside 50s and one more scoring shot than its opponent but Richardson said the Ovens and King had deserved to win.
“They were very slick. They jumped us and then we were chasing tail for the rest of the day,” he said.
Newton said the result showed the Ovens and King league was “good footy”.
“We’ve beaten the Hume league and now the Tallangatta league so I think it should go a long way to winning some respect for our league,” he said.
“I think, through the last few years, the finals series in the Ovens and King shows how strong it is.
“Like all leagues, it probably drops off a bit but, overall, it’s good footy.”