Coolamon co-coach Jamie Maddox says a 'patchy' Hoppers team learnt a valuable finals lesson at Narrandera Sportsground on Saturday.
Coolamon will need to win next Sunday's preliminary final at Robertson Oval after going down to Griffith by 22 points in the second semi-final.
The minor premiers hit the front halfway through the third quarter and threatened again in the last quarter in a performance described by Maddox as patchy.
"We played in patches. We played good in patches and then dropped out of the game for periods and you can't afford to do that in finals," Maddox said.
"And the quality of the side that you're playing against, Griffith played really well and they hurt us when we did drop out of the game."
Maddox was disappointed in the finish to the third quarter that saw the Hoppers go from three points in front to trailing by 22 points at the final change.
"We got in front there through the third quarter and it was disappointing that we let them back into it then," he said.
"We struggled to get that three goals back.
"That first 10 minutes (of the last quarter) we had a lot of possession but we just couldn't capitalise on it. I think we kicked one goal but if we kick another one there we get a bit of momentum but it wasn't to be."
Maddox has faith in the Hoppers to bounce back in next week's preliminary final.
"For sure. We've got a good group there," he said.
"We'll reset next week and work on what we need to work on and give it another crack next week. That's the beauty of finishing on top."
To make matters worse for Coolamon, it lost teenager Nick Buchanan to a dislocated shoulder in the second quarter.
Joe Redfern was the Hoppers best, kicking six of their seven goals, while Josh Buchanan did a good job in defence and Max Hillier won plenty of the ball through the midfield.