SEASON 2013 will be looked back on as one of significant improvement for Bears Lagoon-Serpentine, but frustratingly for the Bears, it’s also a case of what could have been?
The Bears lost just three games in the Loddon Valley Football League this year by a combined 10 points, and despite being the standout side of the home and away season, have no silverware to show for their efforts.
Adding to the further frustration for the Bears is they let a 27-point quarter-time lead slip in Saturday’s grand final against Bridgewater.
In what was a classic grand final between two evenly-matched teams, the Bears were on the wrong end of the result as Bridgewater won its fourth premiership in a row with the 15.11 (101) to 13.15 (93) victory.
“It’s so disappointing for the boys,” Bears coach Damien Featherby said.
“I’ll try to look for some answers, but I don’t think I’ll find any for a week.
“There should have been results today... we expected them today and we didn’t get them.
“We weren’t good enough on the day. I kept saying to the boys this year that there’s only one day you want to be in the side, and there’s only one day you want to be good, and that’s grand final day. But Bridgewater was too good for us.”
The Bears made the early running in the grand final.
They kicked the first four goals of the match and at quarter-time led by 27 points.
However, they lapsed in the middle two quarters when they were outscored 12 goals to four as Bridgewater made its match-winning move.
“I thought the third quarter in particular, their attack on the ball was better than ours, so that’s disappointing,” Featherby said.
“I’m not saying our blokes didn’t attack the ball, but there’s finals-attack and then there’s a grand final-attack.
“Maybe we were in the finals-attack mode... I’m not sure.”
The Bears – chasing their first premiership since 1995 – trailed by as many as 35 points during the final term, but stormed home, kicking the final four goals of the game, but fell eight points short.
The Bears will rue some of their shots at goal, particularly in the second and third quarters when they kicked 4.7.
“There were some shots that should have been kicked, simple as that,” Featherby said.
“Scoreboard pressure is so important, but we let them off.”