SOUTH Warrnambool coach Mathew Buck believes a back-to-basics approach is the catalyst for the Roosters’ return to form.
The Roosters remain in third spot on a highly congested Hampden league ladder with two rounds to play despite suffering a three-point loss to top-placed Port Fairy at Friendly Societies’ Park on Saturday.
They sit above Cobden, which was gallant in defeat to second-ranked Koroit, on percentage and one game clear of North Warrnambool Eagles, who are ruing a shock loss to Hamilton Kangaroos.
Buck said South Warrnambool had heeded lessons from its four-game form slump and produced close to its best the past two weeks.
He was pleased with the Roosters’ endeavour and grunt against the Seagulls.
They led at quarter-time and remained in striking distance thereafter, losing 7.9 (51) to 6.12 (48).
“We had opportunities to win it, and that’s OK,” Buck said.
“I was pretty happy with the performance and how we went. I thought we played a good brand of football. It’s pleasing coming into finals to walk away thinking we can match it with the best.
“We have a formula we want to play and we have to execute.”
Buck said an emphasis on contested ball work had lifted the Roosters, allowing them to then open the game up with their natural flair.
“I think we have been training pretty hard. I don’t think this is why we were losing but our intensity around the ball dropped away a bit.
“We were giving teams too much time and space. It (contested work) is something we’ve focussed on and over the last two weeks we’ve done well.”
Port Fairy coach Brett Evans said “bad shots on goal from them kept us alive”.
“I thought at quarter-time we did a great job to hold them to two goals,” he said.
“But we came in (to the huddle) as if we were flat and the guys were a bit hard on themselves to be honest.”
South Warrnambool lost emerging forward Travis Parsons to an ankle injury and Port Fairy ruckman Robbie Hare to a hamstring.