WARRNAMBOOL is taking positives from its narrow seven-point loss to Camperdown on Saturday.
The Blues and Magpies were locked in an arm wrestle at Leura Oval with key forward Sam Gordon's three late goals the difference.
The defeat means the Blues find themselves with a 1-4 win-loss record after four rounds. But new coach Ben Parkinson said the team took a step forward.
"It was better from our guys. We had some very good players and our team effort was a lot better than it's been," he said.
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"We didn't have passengers like we've had and our one per centers were up."
Parkinson said defender James Chittick nullified Gordon for 95 per cent of the match.
"I thought he did an outstanding job," he said.
"Sam kicked three goals for the game but they were all after the 15-minute mark of the last quarter and essentially that's the difference in the game but that's not James' fault.
"The passages of play fell Sam's way after James had held him for 100 minutes of the game. I thought he was great.
"I thought Sam Cowling's return was terrific too. He also supported James by intercepting a lot of their entries."
Camperdown coach Neville Swayn, who praised Gordon and Fraser Lucas for their last-quarter efforts, was pleased to sneak home but "thought our execution was off".
"It was a game of turnovers," he said.
"Sometimes you've got to win ugly and that is where we were at."
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