We play such an emotional and passionate game that it is difficult not to take Bendigo Gold's narrow loss on Sunday pretty hard.
Our young playing group had attacked the opposition all day with a ferocious intent creating turnovers and mistakes.
Having been around football for all of my adult life, it was extremely disappointing to not come away with what would have been a well deserved four points.
However, it was also a satisfying day to see the brand of football we can produce.
We have always felt within our club that we can compete with the contested situation due to the courage and character of our group, and on Sunday we not only competed but dominated those areas against the Carlton-aligned Northern Blues.
We were also able to match it with the outside game, the uncontested ball and ability to use space to our advantage.
As the coach for the group for the previous 18 months, I have seen enormous growth in all of our players, from our leaders, such as captain Steven Stroobants (pictured), to 18-year-olds in their first year at VFL level and everyone in between.
Personally, I felt it all clicked on Sunday with a complete buy in to work together and display the mateship and unity that we have built over time.
I have said this before, but more often than not, people who come to our games walk away understanding the difference in size and experience, but cannot question our effort.
The challenge for the coaching group, the players and entire club is to now use whatever belief and confidence we were able to pick up from taking an AFL aligned side to the wire is to now maintain it.
It won’t be an easy task, but with a real desire to continue to gain respect and learn from every experience we face, I have full faith we will finish off our season in strong fashion.
At Bendigo Gold we have a strong culture led by our mentally strong playing group.
There was a complete buy in to work together