TOO many egos and inexperience are to blame for Terang Mortlake’s capitulation to Koroit with coach Matthew Irving vowing to address the issues at training tonight.
Labelling the Bloods’ seven-point loss a choke after they led by 43 points 23 minutes into the second quarter, Irving fears final quarter fade-outs and mental lapses are jeopardising the club’s Hampden league finals aspirations.
“When you are 40-odd points up you shouldn’t lose a game of footy,” he said.
“You just shouldn’t put yourself in a position like that. There were some people who thought you have to try and do amazing things. We just needed to keep persevering and keep doing what we were doing really well.
“We probably have too many egos in our side at the moment. There will be a few home truths told to a few players over the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Irving said he had spent the weekend analysing Terang Mortlake’s performance where it kicked 7.5 to 1.4 in the first half before being outscored 7.5 to 0.4 in the second half.
It was the fourth time in the past five games the Bloods had lost the final quarter -— Koroit kicked 5.4 to 0.1.
“Our fitness is not the issue,” Irving said, indicating fitness readings taken in the pre-season showed levels were good.
“We probably have dropped away over the last three or four weeks at training with our fitness work because we had a few injuries and we put an emphasis on our recovery phase.
“We wanted to make sure everyone was OK because we know we are losing players after this week who are going to the World Cup (in Brazil).
“We know our last quarters haven’t been great. I think it’s an inexperience thing knowing how to close out a side.
“It’s still pretty bitter, to be 40-odd points up and let them back in the game is the most disappointing aspect. When you have a side on the ropes like that you have to land the knockout blow.
“When we had the ball in the first half we were able to run, carry the ball and hit targets but when the pressure was on us, it dropped away and that comes with experience. It does take time but we need to get ourselves in a winning position and be able to close it out.
“If we are not winning them because the opposition are too good so be it, but if it’s because we are not controlling the things we can control, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
Irving said the Bloods, who had won just three of their first eight games, were ruing close losses this season when being in winning positions — a factor identified last year as well.
Tonight’s debrief would be brutally honest. “The one thing we will focus on is making sure we are accountable across four quarters.
“I don’t think there are too many sides that can match up with our forwards and our midfield is as good as anyone’s but we just weren’t accountable in there in the second half on Saturday.”
He said he and his players would pick apart the loss but he was mindful they had to re-focus on this Saturday’s crucial home game against Camperdown.
“If we want to play finals footy, we have to win.”