Shattered Temora coach Jake Wooden was lamenting what might have been on Saturday night after the promise of a premiership in his first season disappeared under ‘dumb footy’ and a smart opposition.
The Kangaroos went down by four points to a team they’d beaten by nearly four goals a fortnight ago.
“It’s disappointing, obviously, to get all this way and fall short at the end,” Wooden said.
“To Marrar’s credit, they played really well today. They sort of had an answer for everything we did.”
Wooden said he had no regrets about the selection of forward Matt Harpley, who played despite needing a knee reconstruction.
“No, definitely not. He played a role for us. We just didn’t play smart footy,” Wooden said.
The league’s leading goalkicker was kept on the bench until the second quarter, and played limited minutes from then on. But he didn’t feature in a forward line which struggled all day for clean entries.
Full-forward Matt Wallis was kept goalless after kicking 13 goals in their previous two finals.
“Wal had one of those days,just had two or three blokes on him all day,” Wooden said.
“It was frustrating for him but we played dumb footy. We kept kicking it to him when we obviously had two or three other loose blokes.
“It might’ve been due to Marrar’s pressure but we didn’t play our brand of footy. We were just reacting to what they did. A couple of times we got on top but they were five or 10 minute spurts, they weren’t quarters or anything.”
Off the pace in the third quarter, Temora lifted in the last.
Backman Liam Pattison’s first goal of the season was a highlight and when the veteran Damian Ponting crumbed a clever goal two minutes later, Temora were three points down with eight minutes to play.
However, they couldn’t find the matchwinner, despite another big play from Ponting, with a great mark in the last couple of minutes.
“It’s what we’ve done all year. We never give up… but it was just one of those days. It’s Marrar’s day unfortunately.”