THERE’S no tender way of putting it – Timboon Demons feel like they’ve let one slip.
Gusts of wind did nothing to affect Mick Hunt’s side in the first half of its season-opener against Kolora-Noorat on Saturday, with the Demons holding a 15-point buffer at half time.
But a lack of match fitness, which Hunt put down to the St Patrick’s Day fires forcing the cancellation of a key practice fixture, derailed the Demons’ dreams of a first-up triumph.
Timboon led at every siren but the last as the Power’s match fitness reigned supreme, producing a 8.11 (59) to 6.13 (49) triumph.
“We should have had the game wrapped up at half time,” Hunt told The Standard.
“We kicked it out of bounds about seven times and had about 65 per cent of the play. We didn’t capitalise early and that hurt us.
“There’s nothing like match fitness and I thought in the second half we looked like we needed a run. (Kolora-Noorat) used the ball better and looked a game ahead of us in preparation.”
Hunt, a third-year coach, praised the work of his midfielders and felt they gifted his forwards opportunities.
“I thought we won the ball well enough and had it in our forward line,” he said.
“Their experienced guys – Benny Kenna, Jase Moloney, Luke Tebble – really kept them alive.
“They really stifled us. They were able to play dour footy when they needed to and we weren’t smart enough to switch the ball out to the other side.
“We’ll be better for the run. To be honest with you, we’ve probably let it go.”
Kolora-Noorat mentor Danny Finn described the game as a “match of two halves”.
Finn revealed his men rated Timboon Demons highly and tipped Hunt’s side to play finals for the second-consecutive season.
“I think they’re finals bound for sure. We rate them as having one of the better midfield mixes in the competition. They have powerful, strong onballers,” he said.
“They’ve added to that mix with some recruits and I think we’re better for having played them. We’ve looked to get a bit out of that game.”
He praised the Power’s brigade of young talent for their efforts in lifting the energy and intensity of the side in the second half.
“They were a little earlier in their preparation, with this as their round one,” Finn said.
“It was a good effort from our younger players to keep running and to really dig deep when we needed to.”