3-3 — a case of woulda, coulda, and shoulda

By Andrew Johnston

THREE and three.

It’s a start that many at the beginning of the year would have been more than happy to take for the Murray Bombers.

Yet now at the interleague break, there seems to be a feeling it’s the scoreline of underachievement.

And a lot of that is due to the execution of skills.

The Murray Bombers scored 1.7 between quarter and three-quarter time on Saturday, while their opponent Benalla was able to put seven goals on the board.

When the final siren went, the club was left to mull over what could have been — they finished the match with more scoring shots, but still lost by 29 points.

It’s going to be something they will have to get right before the next third of the season starts.

Their kicking for goal has been a major issue across the last two games, with the defeat to Euroa not helped by the failures to take opportunities.

There were positives out of the loss for the Murray Bombers though.

The club’s effort in the contest is still exceptional.

While skill errors have often been an issue for the side, the attack on the football and their desire to be in the contest cannot be questioned.

The problem there is that endeavour won’t always get you the result if you can’t execute the skills.

But the big upside is that the last three weeks have all had major upsides of being against teams who will be in the competition at the pointy end.

It’s a fact not lost on Simon Maddox.

‘‘Kyabram, Euroa and Benalla are all incredible teams that are playing wonderful football. They are not easy to beat, but we have been able to be in the game for the most part of the matches against those teams.

‘‘We’ve had patches against those sides where we have been better than them, but patches won’t win you games. We have to execute better.’’

Neither Maddox, nor Andrew Walker, have shied away from giving this assessment this season — patches are great, but won’t win games of football against quality opposition.

It’s something that the club will need to work on.

That will start with players returning.

The side had good luck with the return of Cameron Valentine, who played on Benalla goal kicker Nicholas Warnock and restricted him to one goal.

‘‘It’s fantastic for blokes to be able to come straight back into our team and play as a key position player and be really solid,’’ Maddox said.

The first two games after the break are Mooroopna and Shepp Swans, so Echuca needs to show these lessons have been learnt if they are to be a presence in the competition at the pointy end of the year.