Match that got away

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Nanjing Night Net

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FOR three quarters the Goulburn City Swans had their opponent’s measure. Yet some silly first quarter options in the forward 50 and costly mistakes at the death proved the difference as Gungahlin handed the Swans their seventh loss of 2012, this time by 10 points.

A disrupted preparation caught the visitors off-guard at Amaroo on Sunday, and they paid the price.

The Jets came out flying in the opening, booting four goals and six behinds to open up a three-goal buffer at the first break.

A new-look Swans began the second stanza, however, and courtesy of commitment at the football, superior skills at the ruck and better use of the pill up forward, gnawed away at the deficit. By the third quarter, the Swans, searching for their third win as many matches, hit top gear and the front.

Steve Armstrong’s men opened up a nine-point lead at three-quarter time and steeled themselves for one last effort.

Three errors – one a poor kick-in, one an incorrect option, and the other a dropped mark – allowed the hosts to turn a 10-point deficit into an eight-point.

They were never headed. Armstrong admitted it was a result that simply got away.

“We did enough to win that game and we played well enough to win that game,” he said.

“There were two factors that proved the difference: our preparation and our decision making.”

Armstrong was buoyed by team’s fighting spirit and again praised his charge’s commitment.

“Again, I can’t fault our endeavour. After the first quarter, I thought we outplayed them. To not come away with the chocolates is very disappointing.”

It wasn’t all bad news for the Swans, however. The 2010 grand finalists unearthed another young player, Chris Roberts, who excelled in his first outing. The 19-year-old joins a host of promising teenagers, including Cameron Lawson, Sam Buchannan and Kyle Granger.

Despite the defeat, the Swans had plenty of toilers, not least centre-half-back Dave Waters – also an accomplished forward who’s punted more goals than any of his teammates.

Stand-in skipper Ben Conway was among the best afield, while Ben Howard, David Nell and Nathan Price all turned in terrific performances.

Armstrong said his team ought to be confident ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Eastlake – an opponent that had too much energy way back in round one. Much has changed since then.

The Demons have managed just one victory since that encounter, while the Swans have run into some solid form of late.

“It’s a very winnable game,” Armstrong said.

“I tend to think if we play like we did on the weekend, we should be fine.”

Last week’s defeat all-but ended the Swans’ already slim finals chances. Although Armstrong admitted his team wouldn’t feature come finals time, he expects plenty of good footy for the second half of the season. Winning starts at Kenmore Oval on Saturday.

Gungahlin Jets 9.11.65 defeated Goulburn City Swans 8.7.55

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