Warrnambool sews up finals berth, Hamilton Kangaroos bow out of race

DISAPPOINTED: Kangaroos coach Matt Dunn rues a missed chance. Picture: Morgan Hancock
DISAPPOINTED: Kangaroos coach Matt Dunn rues a missed chance. Picture: Morgan Hancock

HAMILTON Kangaroos’ quest for a maiden Hampden league finals berth will stretch into a seventh season.

The Matt Dunn-led outfit bowed out of contention with a deflating 15.13 (103) to 8.9 (57) loss to Warrnambool at Melville Oval on Saturday.

The Blues’ win, coupled with Hamilton, Cobden and Terang Mortlake dropping their games, cemented their top-five spot with two rounds remaining.

Dunn said it was a lost opportunity for his players.

“After a poor start to the year, our mid-season form was really good and we were up there,” he said.

“It was good to see the brand of footy we are capable of but when it came to the crunch we were not where we needed to be. We’ll try and get something out of the last two weeks.”

Hamilton Kangaroos were in the hunt at half-time with scores tied. But Warrnambool kicked six goals to one in a dominant third term to tear the game open.

“It was pretty disappointing after an even first half,” Dunn said.

“Their pressure lifted and our turnovers hurt us.”

Warrnambool coach Matt O’Brien was pleased with the Blues’ defensive pressure in the third quarter.

“They kicked their goal in the last minute or two,” he said.

“They had four inside 50s. We really pressured them well. The conditions were good up here – the ground was dry and we didn’t get a drop of rain.”

Dunn said the battle between Roos defender Jandre Slabbert and Blues forward Sam Cowling was the game’s spectacle.