ANOTHER slow start cost Rochester dearly on the weekend, going down to Seymour by 39 points in an important round 12 Goulburn Valley League clash.
The Lions took control of the game early and the Tigers couldn’t repeat their magic of the last two games, when they came from behind at three-quarter-time to steal wins against Mansfield and Tatura.
The result is a hit to Rochester’s finals chances. The Tigers are still inside the top six but has lost its four-point buffer on the ladder with Echuca cosing the gap to just percentage following an upset nine-point win against Euroa.
Rochester coach James Flaherty said the poor start had been too much to overcome.
‘‘The first quarter really hurt us — 30-odd points to nothing. We didn’t start well,’’ he said.
‘‘We tried to claw our way back in pretty well but we couldn’t get it close after the start.’’
Missing potentially its best two players in Nathan Marrone and Steven Stroobants to the Victorian Country side, Heath Aitken and Dylan Cuttriss to injury as well as youngster Wil Hamilton to his TAC Cup debut, the task was always going to be difficult.
Given the with the personnel who were missing, Flaherty said he hoped Saturday’s loss was just a flat week for the team.
‘‘I hope so, but we haven’t been playing well,’’ he said.
‘‘The last quarters have been fantastic but against good sides you can’t get away with that and we couldn’t manage it on the weekend.
‘‘We had seven changes to our side, five of them forced. We can’t seem to get the same group on the park at the moment.’’
A good start was important in the tough Seymour environment, but before the Tigers could switch on they were well and truly on the back foot and trailing by 33 points at quarter-time.
‘‘They had a lot more run through the midfield and their backline generated plenty too,’’ Flaherty said.
‘‘Our defence was under the pump and they had too many easy shots at goal.
‘‘After that we tightened up, we were a bit more accountable one on one and stopped their run as best we could and generated a few opportunities ourselves.’’
The brutal start was costly, but they finally found their feet at the start of the second with goals to James McPhee and Perry Oliver in quick succession.
But the Lions wrestled back control with two goals to Brandyn Grenfell helping the team take a half-time lead of 28 points.
Scott Oakley and Elliot Bowen goaled early in the second half as the Tigers cut within 18 points, but again Seymour had all the answers kicking the next two to lead by 32 points.
Needing a miracle, Rochester just didn’t have enough to get back into the game, lacking rotations with injuries to Oliver, Sam Brennan and Kane Moroney.
Seymour kicked away to a 50-point win before some late Rochester goals cut the full-time margin to 39 points, 13.18 (96) to 8.9 (57).
Jarod Bacon was best-on for the Tigers with two goals, Dillon Williams and Mitchell Bright other standouts.
They need to regroup to get their finals plans back on track, and they get a brilliant opportunity to do just that this weekend when hosting Shepparton United.
United is 3-9 this season, and was soundly beaten when the sides met in round two, going down by 95 points.