Charles Sturt University coach Pat Noonan was proud of his players' efforts in taking their last-ditch bid for finals right to the closing minutes of the season.
The Bushpigs looked absolute long shots to be in the hunt for fifth three weeks ago but after toppling two potential rivals in stylish fashion (The Rock-Yerong Creek and Northern Jets), they made the final round game against the Blues a playoff for fifth.
While they had the better of the first quarter and the last at Peter Hastie Oval, their card was marked in the middle of the game, as Coleambally got on top in the second and put the game just out of reach with three quick goals straight after half-time.
"I'm very proud," Noonan said.
"We've spoken about how in the last month we were going in the right direction. I feel like we've just got to go in that direction a bit earlier in the season and I think the boys know that. But it was an awesome effort by the boys over the last two months and today's effort was great.
"They didn't hold anything back and played fantastically. I think just a couple of lapses there in the third quarter (cost us). They (Coleambally) kicked those few quick goals after half-time, and even in the fourth quarter they kicked that goal that put us on the back foot at the start when we needed to get the first couple of goals."
Noonan kicked two goals in the second half which both brought his team to within two kicks. But they didn't quite have the answer to Coleambally's pressure and the presence of Blues backman Tom Morton disrupting their forward line.
"I think we thought that our intensity had to be something special (all game). But it didn't. That's where we need to get better at being more aware of when to speed it up and when to slow it down. And that comes with age, and experience," Noonan said.
Noonan, who last year took CSU to finals for the first time since 2011, has already signed on for a third season at the helm.
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