ECHUCA coach Andrew Briggs has blasted his side’s ‘‘embarrassing’’ effort in a shock loss to bottom-ranked Shepparton Swans on Saturday.
Finals chances already slim, the Murray Bombers couldn’t play anywhere near their best football and were overrun as the Swans made the most of having the wind in the final quarter to record a one-goal win.
With Rochester’s surprising 62-point demolition of Euroa, Echuca is now two games and percentage back from the sixth-placed Tigers and would need a minor miracle to be playing finals.
Briggs said finals weren’t even in the club’s thinking after the poor display.
‘‘It was an embarrassing effort, really,’’ he said.
‘‘It was great to have young Brodie Kemp play a better game, but it’s just disappointing as a coach and as an entire group that we can’t show our young guys a better way to the play the game.’’
He was lost for an explanation as to how the team could drop games to the Goulburn Valley League’s bottom two sides in consecutive weeks.
‘‘There’s a lot of questions really, whether they’re playing for the club or not,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘They go out and try, I’m not sure what it is and it’s disappointing.
‘‘Ultimately we want the group to stick together and fight, and earn respect, but we certainly haven’t done that the last two weeks.
‘‘It’s their footy club; I’m not going to be the coach next season, but someone will be, and the players will have to decided if they want to fight for the club.’’
The Murray Bombers had the wind in the first quarter but didn’t do nearly enough to make the most of it, outscored 9-12 in the first quarter as the Swans showed brilliant efficiency in front of goal.
‘‘The breeze was pretty strong and we didn’t capitalise on it in the first quarter with 1.3 from 15 inside 50s,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘The last kick inside 50 let us down, we had enough opportunity.’’
They continued to roll in the second quarter, another three goals helping them to a 15-point half-time lead.
Echuca changed things up at half-time, looking to play smaller up forward with Tim Allan and Liam Wilkinson while Ruory Kirkby played on the ball.
With their season on the brink, the Murray Bombers had to lift, and lift they did, using the wind for a five goals to one term, and with a quarter to play were 11 points up looking to keep their season alive. But the Swans had enough left in the tank to kick four goals in the final term and pinch a late win by one straight kick, winning 10.4 (64) to 8.10 (58). Back from injury, ruckman Kane Morris again combined with Simon Buckley to be Echuca’s best two players, Allan also proficient on his return with two goals.
Youngster Kemp also delivered in just his second game with a goal, also named in the best after a strong display in the backline, including at centre-half-back after Tyler Phillips went down with injury.
In an added dose of bad news for the side, Phillips went down with a dislocated knee and potential broken leg in the last quarter.
Under 18s regular Jonte Opie made his seniors debut in the loss, but played just three minutes of the game before taking a knock to the head in an innocuous collision.
The Murray Bombers will face Shepparton Bears this Saturday, a difficult fixture as the side plays almost solely for pride.
‘‘Finals aren’t something on the agenda for us at the moment, it’s just about respect,’’ Briggs said.
‘‘We’ve lost a lot of that from the competition in the last two weeks, I’d imagine.
‘‘We’re seen as an easy team to beat, and the only team that can fix that is us.’’