KOROIT coach Adam Dowie predicts his Saints will be a major contender again next year.
“History tells us you have to lose pretty big games to win pretty big games,” Dowie said.
“Warrnambool has. As hard as it is now, it is something this group needs to have.
‘‘I felt like during the year we were a good side trying to match it with Cobden, Warrnambool and North Warrnambool Eagles.
“We won’t go away and say it was a disaster.
‘‘I know these guys, especially with so many young guys and experienced guys hurting, they will hopefully come back bigger, stronger, better, faster than this year.
“They haven’t let anyone down.
‘‘We are disappointed.
‘‘They have been a real value-for-money side.
‘‘There wouldn’t have been anyone who walked away and said they didn’t have a go or have a crack.”
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Dowie said the Saints were well placed for next season.
“This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning,” he said.
‘‘We’ve got seven or eight guys under 21, the future is really bright.
‘‘We are disappointed but knowing the character of these boys they will be back.
‘‘This is one of those things that had to happen.”
He said the Blues were too good and had an even spread of contributors while the Saints left too much to too few.
Skipper Ben Goodall was a standout but it was hard to find other four-quarter performers.
Dowie said the Saints fell away from their game plan after quarter-time.
“We just seemed to kick the ball down the line a lot,” he said.
‘‘We thought Sam Dobson looked pretty dangerous when he was marking inside 50 but too many times we had a five-man forward line against a six or seven-man back line.
“I thought their clearance work was really, really good especially when you consider Tim Hunt was injured and Damian McCorkell spent a lot of the game off.”
He said the Saints had not been able to put enough pressure on Warrnambool’s defenders to retain possession inside the forward 50.
‘That meant the Blues were able to rebound, dragging the Saints’ forwards and midfielders up the ground.
“During the year our midfielders have been good getting in between our forward line and back line, maybe the bigger ground played into their hands,” Dowie said.
He said the Saints needed to find some pace for next year.