Port Fairy coach Bret Evans backs Seagulls to respond from Hampden preliminary final defeat

RAW EMOTION: Port Fairy assistant coach Daniel Nicholson cuts a dejected figure after the Seagulls' preliminary final loss. Picture: Amy Paton

RAW EMOTION: Port Fairy assistant coach Daniel Nicholson cuts a dejected figure after the Seagulls' preliminary final loss. Picture: Amy Paton

PORT Fairy coach Brett Evans says the Seagulls are in the early chapters of what they hope becomes a long and proud story of success.

Evans pointed to the Seagulls’ new-found stability – 16 of the 21 who played in their Hampden league preliminary final loss to Koroit have signed for next season – as reasons to be optimistic about their future.

“A lot is spoken about our star players but not much is said about our young, home-grown guys and they’ve been brilliant this year,” he said.

“There’s so many kids coming through, like our under 16 boys and four or five under 18 kids who are right there for the picking next year.

“We think we can hold this group and within the next year or two, these younger guys will be stepping up which probably hasn’t happened at Port for a long time.

“We’re not thinking we’ve missed our opportunity, we think it’s a progressive step for us.”

An emotional Evans praised Port Fairy for its desperation against Koroit.

The Seagulls were three points down and had the wind against them entering the final term.

They scored the first goal through Guy Phelps and the last off Kaine Mercovich’s boot but fell short of ending the Saints’ three-peat hopes.

Goals to Saints pair Isaac Templeton and Will Couch punctuated the Seagulls’ majors.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of them,” Evans said of his players.

“I thought we had flat spots and even our good ball carriers and ball users, for some reason we just weren’t hitting our targets like we do and the only way out of that is to fight.

“I thought we did that as hard as we possibly could in the last quarter.”

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