SOUTH Warrnambool expects its midfield to receive a boost in coming weeks after three top-liners missed its loss to Koroit on Saturday.
Captain Liam Youl, James Hussey and Josh Saunders were sidelined as the Roosters were overrun in the second half of the Hampden league top-of-the-table clash at Victoria Park.
Koroit turned a slender eight-point half-time margin into a commanding 13.8 (86) to 5.8 (38) victory.
Roosters coach Mat Battistello said the loss - just their second in 13 games this season - came with positives, such as their defenders' efforts and Archie Stevens' role in a decimated midfield.
Koroit, whose only defeat was against South Warrnambool on Good Friday, was pleased with its ability to wrest the advantage with utility Jack O'Sullivan impressive with four goals, Dylan McCutcheon a workhorse in congestion, Ben Dobson dangerous across the ground and comeback player Ben Goodall clean with the ball.
Saints coach Chris McLaren said the Roosters' pressure, particularly early, "put us under the pump a little bit".
"We were a touch indecisive with the ball and a little indecisive with ground balls," he said.
"We spoke at half-time about making a decision, stick with it and go with it.
"Our third quarter into the wind we lifted our effort and physicality."
Roosters coach Mat Battistello said he was proud of his team's ability to grind out the first two quarters and praised his back line for its hard work across the whole game.
"I thought we played extremely well in the first half," he said.
"I thought we had plenty of opportunities. Four of their goals of their five in the first half came from free kicks so that's something we need to address.
"I felt that kept them in the game a little bit and Koroit being the good, mature side they are put us to the sword in the third quarter.
"Its all great learnings for us and we're one-all now. We leave here pretty self-aware of where we're at but also pretty positive about what we are able to do."
Battistello said South Warrnambool's heavy training load meant some short-term pain as players dealt with soft tissue injuries, including clearance specialists Youl and Saunders.
"Hopefully in the back-end of the year it will pay dividends but we're paying the price for it at the moment," he said. "There's tightness hamstring issues, probably three or four of them."
Brayden Beks was another late omission with an ongoing corkie complaint.
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