WARRNAMBOOL Seahawks remain bullish about their playoff chances as they manage an injury-hit roster.
They remain in the hunt to secure a spot in the Big V division one top-six despite falling 91-85 to highly-rated Warrandyte Venom at the Arc on Saturday night.
Import Xavier Johnson-Blount dominated the Seahawks' scoresheet with 48 points.
Seahawks coach Tim Gainey, who played 40 minutes and drained 16 points in the absence of starting five trio Alex Gynes, Josh Dean and Ollie Bidmade, said they wouldn't rush those players back.
He is hopeful they will play a role in the backend of the regular season.
"Josh already tried to shorten his recovery time and he hurt himself again," Gainey said.
The experienced leader admitted Warrnambool, which has endured a up-and-down season, was lucky other teams jostling for a playoffs berth were suffering a similar fate.
"The teams around us have lost games we have lost," Gainey said.
"Even last night, the teams near us lost as well. It really didn't change anything (in terms of the ladder).
"We should've won the game last night and should've won against Latrobe. There's no excuses."
Warrnambool had Warrandyte on the back foot early, leading 24-17 at the first break.
But the Seahawks found themselves seven points down at half-time after the Venom won the second term 29-15.
The Venom edged their buffer out to nine points at the final change before the Seahawks won the fourth quarter by three.
"We were down by two points with one-and-half minutes to go," Gainey said.
"We did have to exert a lot of energy to get back into the game.
"We lost the second quarter by a comfortable margin. One quarter lost us the game, that is about maturity."
Gainey conceded the Venom executed better in critical stages of the match, praising their strategy.
"It was smart by them," he said.
"I spoke to the coach after the game and they were so happy they got away with it (a win).
"There are positives and negatives for us. We know playing without three starters we can still play with the best teams in the league."
Warrnambool Mermaids' tough initiation in the championship grade continued with the Louise Brown-coached roster falling to top-placed side Werribee Devils 92-35.
They only scored double figures in one quarter.
Leah Bartlett top-scored with seven points.
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