After being the best team all season, East Wagga-Kooringal paid the price for failing to step up a notch for finals, but coach Gavin McMahon has promised it won’t happen again next week.
“We just weren’t able to maintain a finals intensity, we’re still at home-and-away level intensity and you can’t do that against good sides,” McMahon said.
The speed of injured midfielders Ben Absolum and Stuart Brierty was missed around the ruck and McMahon said their leadership would have been helpful.
However, in an indictment on his players, he wasn’t sure they could’ve changed the outcome.
“I think as a team, we played with the same level of intensity across our 22 players, so if you added two into there it wouldn’t have made much of a difference,” he said.
McMahon said the Hawks were off their game mentally rather than underdone physically, but admitted they’d been beaten at their own game.
“They did to us what we’ve been doing to sides all year… they were a lot cleaner and a lot sharper and I think they were just a bit more desperate than we were too.
“But one bad game’s not a season and we’ll front up next week and I guarantee we’ll give a different account of ourselves.”
McMahon said it isn’t panic stations at the Hawks and noted there were some positives, like James Bower impressing at fullback and in the ruck after a late call-up for his first senior game with the Hawks.