But the turnaround in form over the past month has resulted in the Roosters snaring eighth position on the ladder and may well sneak into the finals given their lenient draw over the next two months.
It hosts Bendigo this week in a match that will certainly now be a blockbuster with two regional teams pushing hard for finals. The Gold will start as deserved favourites but the Roosters have bravely battled hard to conjure six wins for the season so far. If the Roosters can win 10 for the year, it would be a good result with their current list.
And 10 wins should be enough to sneak it into the finals, perhaps ahead of the team it defeated yesterday, Williamstown. It was a crucial win that may have already decided eighth spot.
There’s no doubting how much respect the Roosters hold for the Seagulls. Both teams have played some blockbuster matches in recent seasons, but for the visitors to get the chocolates away from their home turf against last year’s grand finalist is a massive turning point for the season for them.
The Seagulls may well rue this seven point loss and last week’s draw against Frankston as two games that have snuck away from them.
You have to wonder though just how much influence resting Ayce Cordy, Mitch Wallis and Mark Austin was for the team yesterday. Certainly, they were hamstrung by their AFL affiliate, the Western Bulldogs in this one.
But as weakened as they were, the Roosters were solid in their efforts, led by Ben Cunnington with 34 disposals, four goals and 10 tackles.
There is a strong belief within the team that they can make the finals; a belief that perhaps wasn’t there in the early rounds.
“When we were getting defeated, we needed to not dwell on our problem but continue to look for our solution and that’s the important way that our football club looks at it,” Roosters coach Gerard FitzGerald said.
“Defeats are a setback but they’re also a learning opportunity.”
“As a result of achieving success in our KPI’s, in what we call our processes which are unique to our footy club and all football clubs have got them, we’ve got our own set of measurements but we know that we need to continue to improve in all of our areas relevant to our KPI’s and if we do that, we’ll get outcomes like today,” he said.
The Northern Blues, meanwhile, remain on the bottom of the ladder but new coach Darren Harris believes it was a much more spirited effort in the 57-point loss to the Box Hill on Saturday.
The Blues put up a gutsy first half before Box Hill ran away with it, at least on the scoreboard in the second half.
Bret Thornton was perhaps the saviour for the Blues with four goals.
“It looks like that on the scoreboard but we had more than 20 clearances than them, we had more inside 50s, we had more tackles so if you’re looking at some key criteria, it was a hard fought game,” Harris said.
“The thing that really hurt us was that we turned the ball over in a number of ways, whether it was from going forward, whether it was from handballs and because of that, we got scored against by making errors off a short pitch,” he said.
Harris said he enjoyed returning to the helm after Robert Hyde stepped down last week. Harris coached the Northern Blues, then the Bullants, in 2011.
“I really enjoyed it. I thought the boys didn’t throw it in today, they fought right till the end. If you look at the last quarter scores, it was pretty even against the wind. It just says that these blokes are willing to fight the fight and we’ll keep doing that,” he said.
In other results, Port Melbourne won the match of the round by 30-points over Sandringham, Werribee blitzed Casey by 78-points, Collingwood withstood several challenges from Frankston to post a 22-point win and Geelong jump to fourth position after a 46-point win over Coburg in Warrnambool.
Hero of the week: Nathan Ablett (Werribee) – Finally after all the hype, Ablett has produced a best on ground performance for the Tigers with four goals against Casey.
Villain of the week: Cameron Shenton (Sandringham) – Only managed a handful of possessions for the game but coughed the ball up at a crucial time in the final term which gave Clayton Hinkley the chance to sink the Zebras.
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