The Northern Knights have fallen to an impressive Dandenong Stingrays outfit on Saturday afternoon at Shepley Oval in Dandenong.
Wayward kicking from the Knights helped Dandenong set up a commanding 37-point lead at half time. After the Stingrays extended the lead to 48 late in the game the Knights kicked the final three goals to bring the margin to a respectable 29 points.
Coach Justin Wenke says while happy with how the boys played the game out it shouldn’t have been that big a margin at half time.
“It was a disappointing day”, Wenke said.
“Our goal kicking really let us down in that first half and Dandenong to their credit capitalised on their opportunities and put the game away early.”
“We did well in some of our key areas including contested ball and clearances but we were let down by some poor turnovers in the back half resulting in easy goals.”
“To our boys credit though, we really played the game out and got some reward for effort in that last quarter and managed to convert chances when going forward.”
The Knights won the second half but the 29 point margin reflected where the team is currently at Wenke says.
“I think at the moment we are four to five goals behind the best teams in the competition. We still have a lot to work on and I feel we can close that gap hopefully in the back end of the season and then in the finals.”
On an individual level Oliver Wilson and Mark Baker really stepped up in the backline under some immense pressure. While Alex Federico was brilliant before going down with an ankle injury late in the game.
“I thought Oli was fantastic, he was really competitive all day and it was great to see him kick his first goal for the Knights as well. Bakes had the tough job of playing on Tom De Koning and I thought he won that battle which was pleasing for us.”
The Knights now have the week off due to the TAC Cup Development Weekend before taking on the Eastern Ranges in an important clash to help cement their spot in the top eight.
Dandenong Stingrays: 4.1 8.2 12.5 14.5 (89)
Northern Knights 1.2 1.6 4.7 8.12 (60)
Dandenong Stingrays: R. D”Arcy 4, L. Davies – Uniacke 2, A. Bonar, F. Bayne, J. Taylor, J. Nanscawen, R. Bowman, J. Plumridge , L. Young, T. Dekoning
Northern Knights: P. Naish 2, P. Della Rocca 2, N. Coffield, O. Wilson, M. Harman, S. Binion
Dandenong Stingrays: O. Clavarino, J. Davies, R. D”Arcy, A. Paterson, L. Davies – Uniacke, M. Riordan
Northern Knights: O. Wilson, A. Federico, M. Baker, P. Della Rocca, T. McKenzie, R. Bowkett