ONE team’s finals hopes received a boost while the other’s are hanging by a thread after a comeback fell just short at Panmure Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
South Rovers led by six goals in the fourth quarter, only to watch a determined Panmure, with its season on the line, whittle it back to nine points.
Even with the 13.13 (91) to 11.16 (82) win, South Rovers coach Adam Matheson says his charges have an uphill battle to claim a top-five spot.
“Our percentage isn’t great, so we’re going to have to upset a few on the trip home,” he said.
“We’ve got six games to go, we’re probably going to have to win five of them.”
With an unbeaten Kolora-Noorat looming next week, the Lions will be looking for more of what they produced in the third quarter and less of the last.
After a close first half – Panmure led by two points at the first break, while South Rovers were up by four at half-time – the Lions burst out of the blocks at the start of the third term.
Led by fired-up half-forward Nathan Krepp, who kicked two goals in a minute and had a hand in two others in a scintillating term, the Lions soon found themselves up by 22 points.
They held steady to take a 23-point lead into the final quarter and got out to a 36-point lead, before a desperate Panmure dug deep, with a team-lifting goal to Shaun Griffin getting the ball rolling.
“Our third quarter has probably been our strongest all year, but to have to rely upon one quarter of footy isn’t good enough, really,” Matheson said. “We’ve got to be able to play three, four quarters like that.
“I don’t know what it is, I just wish we could replicate it at the start of the game or start of the second term.
“We’ll take it on days like this, but if we dish that up against the Power next week, then we’re going to be in trouble. We’ll be miles down at half-time, so third quarter won’t matter.”
Posters proved painfully costly for Panmure in the second half, with a number of opportunities going begging at crucial moments.
Bulldogs coach Joe Kenna said his charges left their run too late. “The first half we let them play it on their terms and we were too slow to react,” he said.
“Sometimes, as a side, it’s not until we learn our lesson that we respond. We need to come out, play it on our terms and finish a game off before we can play that four quarters of footy.
“It’s so disappointing and it just breaks your heart every week.”