CAMPERDOWN coach Phil Carse has found plenty of positives despite his side losing to Warrnambool by nine points in their round 11 Hampden league football clash on Saturday.
The Blues stormed home with six goals in the final quarter to hand the Magpies a 12.12 (84) to 11.9 (75) defeat.
While it was Camperdown’s second consecutive defeat and third of the season, Carse remained upbeat about the side’s performance post-game.
“We were obviously disappointed we couldn’t get the four points,” Carse said.
“But after reviewing the match, there were still plenty of positives.
“Our endeavour across the match was really good from the boys.”
After holding an 11 point lead at quarter time, the Magpies found themselves trailing the Blues by seven points at the main break.
Camperdown worked its way back to the front early in the third term and held an 11 point lead with a quarter to play.
Warrnambool kicked the first two goals to hit the front again in the first five minutes, before the Magpies responded with a major to lead by five.
The lead traded hands again throughout the quarter before two late goals to Warrnambool pushed the Blues’ margin out to 15 points.
Camperdown, through Carse, cut the margin back to nine in the dying minutes but it was too late as the Blues held on to win.
While Carse said there were plenty of positives in the loss, he highlighted one concern that the Magpies’ forward line struggled at times on Saturday.
With Nick Bateman and Jacob Mahony injured, Camperdown entered the match with an “undersized forward line”.
Grant Place (leg) was then injured “reasonably early”, and while his loss robbed the Magpies of another tall, Carse said a lack of height was not solely to blame for their struggles.
He said part of the problem also stemmed from his side’s inability to adapt their game plan to suit their current forward stocks against a strong Blues back line.
However, despite the lack of size inside 50, the coach was pleased with the effort of his midfield and back six, who he said created plenty of opportunity for the Magpies up the ground.
“Despite Dan Weymouth being dominant in the ruck, I thought we got on top of the stoppages,” Carse said.
“We were still able to get quite a lot of footy forward of centre.”
Jack Williams, Luke Mahony, Charlie Lucas and Locky Bone all pleased Carse with their performances.
“Jack Williams was strong across half back,” Carse said.
“Luke Mahony was good through the midfield.
“Charlie Lucas played a good role out on the wing.
“And Locky Bone gave us a bit inside 50.”
Carse was another standout performer, finishing with four goals in another strong game from the midfield.
The Magpies enter the bye third with an 8-3 win-loss record and still has the benefit of an eight point break on South Warrnambool (fourth) with seven matches to play.
Carse said the Magpies will use the week off to gain a physical and mental break, but also as a chance for the group to get together.
They will adopt a much similar plan for training this week, with the entire playing squad set to meet in Geelong one night.
“It’ll be a much lighter week, so all sore spots and niggles get time to recuperate,” Carse said.
The following week, training will be stepped up again ahead of their return, with the coach eager to see his players respond when they return to the field.
“It’s really important for us to rebound against North and Hamilton after the bye,” Carse said.
In the other results on Saturday, both the reserves and under 18.5s posted victories.
The reserves held on to win 10.6 (66) to 9.6 (60) after leading by 25 points at three quarter time, recording their fourth win of the season.
They started strongly, kicking seven goals in the opening term but only managed three more for the match as Warrnambool controlled terms on the scoreboard in the final three periods.
Luke Clarke was best on ground, while Daniel Hickey, Eddie Lucas (three goals), Jeremy Lucas, Wayne Loader and Jordan Riches also played well.
The under 18.5s made it three wins on the trot, defeating Warrnambool 5.5 (35) to 3.2 (20).
The Magpies held a 10 point lead at half-time before the Blues fought back in the second term to reduce the margin to two points.
Camperdown finished strongly in the final term, keeping Warrnambool goalless while kicking two goals as they secured victory.
Mitch Gristede kicked three goals in a best afield performance, with Isaac Fowler, Toby Kent, Leigh Ball, Lachie Stephenson and Zach Sinnott also named in the best players.
The under 16s and under 14s both lost their matches to Warrnambool at Reid Oval on Sunday.
An undermanned under 16s went down 22.13 (145) to 4.4 (28), with the Blues too strong across the ground for the Magpies.
Josh Place, Hamish Sinnott, Oliver Wright, Camo Vagg, Hayden Brett and Josh Sinnott were the best players.
And the under 14s produced one of their best performances of the season in a 6.8 (44) to 4.0 (24) defeat.
After keeping in touch with the Blues in the first three quarters, Camperdown kicked three goals in the final term to cap off a good performance.
Will Mahony (two goals), Rory Mason, Noah Sinnott, Melinda Baulch, Bailey McGillivray were the side’s best players.
There is no senior or junior football this weekend due to a league bye, with the seniors returning on July 14 against North Warrnambool at Bushfield Recreation Reserve.
The junior sides also play the Eagles, but will host North at Leura Oval on Sunday, July 15.