THREE losses under five points.
The reality is starting to bite North Warrnambool Eagles after Graeme Twaddle’s side suffered another heartbreaking defeat on Saturday.
Twaddle’s men fell to a Colin Garland-inspired Terang Mortlake by just two points – condemning them to a dreaded 0-5 start.
Terang Mortlake booted 9.12 (66) to 10.4 (64) to run away with its second-consecutive triumph.
But the win-loss record is deceiving – just ask the Eagles’ fourth-year coach.
“We put it on the boys to grow and to develop with every game and in a lot of ways we’re doing that,” Twaddle said.
“We’re stepping up and playing some really good football. We’re developing because the dynamics in the team have changed quite a lot this season.
“We’re disappointed we haven’t been able to get over the line but we’re seeing some real positives in what we’re doing.”
Both sides started strongly, with just two points the margin against Terang Mortlake at quarter time.
Four goals to one in the second term lifted the Bloods to a 19-point half time lead, but the Michael Sargeant-coached side failed to convert in the third quarter.
It meant they coughed up the lead at the final change before rushing home with three majors
The Bloods then failed to score in the third term but rode a three-goal fourth term to the two-point victory.\
Twaddle said several games had teetered on a knife’s edge and the second half of the season was vital for North Warrnambool’s ambitions.
“There we a lot of people who wrote our club off and at 0-5, they're probably thinking they were right in their estimations,” he said.
“Internally, we know we could easily have three wins and two losses at this point and people would have us down as going places.
“But internally we know we are going places as a club. We’re believing in our processes and working to get the results but unfortunately we’re just lacking that experience to get over the line in those close ones at times.”
Bloods mentor Michael Sargeant said his men were more poised and were growing in confidence.
“We controlled the ball a lot better and we kind of made them defend,” he said.
“I think the best teams can control the ball and can play slow when they need to. We’d been playing a bit too fast the first three weeks.
“It’s very hard to do that for the whole four quarters but we’ve been able to put it on our terms (against North Warrnambool Eagles).”
Sargeant paid homage to debutant Colin Garland, who booted two last-quarter goals to help Terang Mortlake over the line.
“His leadership was outstanding for us,” he said.