CAMPERDOWN will take plenty of lessons out of its Hampden league football loss to Koroit on Saturday.
The Magpies fell to the Saints in their first clash since last year’s grand final, with the reigning premier proving too strong in an 11.17 (83) to 9.8 (62) victory.
Co-coach Neville Swayn said there was plenty for his side to learn from the result.
“We’ll take a lot out of it and learn a lot from it,” he said.
“We feel we’re on the right track and we’ll develop as the year goes on.”
Swayn said his side gave themselves opportunities to win despite it being “a scrappy game”.
“It just didn’t open up all day and they had a lot of entries in the first quarter but they didn’t capitalise,” he said.
“We worked hard all day and worked our way back into it and gave ourselves a chance halfway through the last quarter.”
After Koroit dominated the play in the opening term, the Magpies got the game back to level pegging with a strong second quarter.
They kicked three goals to two to tie the game heading into the main break, with Swayn pleased to see his players respond after a sluggish start.
He said the Saints were able to restrict the Magpies’ running game in the first quarter, forcing Camperdown to play a slow and safe brand of football rather than their normal quick style.
“They guarded the corridor really well and defended the way we wanted to play really well,” he said.
“We probably went back into our shell a little bit and we addressed that at quarter time but we worked our way through it.”
After half-time, Koroit again had the better of proceedings, kicking five goals to one in the third term to open up a match high lead of 27 points.
Camperdown was again able to control proceedings in the final term and while they outscored the Saints four goals to three, they failed to capitalise on several other opportunities to fall by 21 points.
Despite the slim margin, Swayn said he was pleased to see his side play the game out over the final three quarters.
“The willingness to take the game on was the pleasing thing,” he said.
“And our fitness and effort right through to the last quarter was also really pleasing.”
Jason Robinson was named best afield for Camperdown in defence, while Josh Bone, Billy Arnold, Riley Arnold, Fraser Lucas and Charlie Lucas also played solid games.
Swayn was pleased with their performances but he credited his back six for their efforts under a constant flow of Koroit attacking forays.
“We were rapt with how the back six stood up given the pressure they were under,” he said.
“It was a huge effort.”
With a week’s break for Easter, Camperdown has two weeks to prepare for their next clash, which will be against Warrnambool at Reid Oval.
That will signal the start of a tough three game stretch, with matches against North Warrnambool and Port Fairy to follow, but it’s a period Swayn said his playing group would look forward to.
“It’s a tough draw but at least we’ll find out where we are at,” he said.
“There isn’t going to be too many easy games, so we look forward to the challenge of playing these top sides early in the year one after the other.
“It’s a great challenge for the boys.”
Meanwhile, the reserves lost their match to the Saints 9.6 (60) to 4.5 (29).
Jacob Mahony was named best on ground in defence, with Devon Coates, Charlie Brett, James Byrne, Leigh Ball and James Henry also performing well.
Grant Place, Tyler Mungean, Tom Place and Henry each kicked a goal apiece.
And the under 18.5s made it two wins from as many matches with an 11.18 (84) to 6.7 (43) triumph.
Luke Ball was best afield alongside Sid Bradshaw, Zach Sinnott, Byron Loader and Archie Rial, while Zavier Mungean kicked four goals to be also among the best players.