THE Bendigo Gold's VFL farewell tour started on Sunday with a second-half fadeout and a 65-point loss against Sandringham.
In what was the first game since the club announced it wouldn't be renewing its VFL licence at the end of the season, the Gold were beaten 15.19 (109) to 5.14 (44) at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
The Gold were in the contest at half-time when they trailed the Zebras by 18 points, 7.8 to 4.8.
But the game opened up for the Zebras in the second half as they added 8.11 to 1.6 to run away with the 65-point victory.
"It was a really good first half by the boys and we were competitive in all the areas we wanted to be," Gold coach Aussie Jones said.
"We missed a few easy opportunities in front of goal in that first half, but we faded after half-time. To me, the boys looked tired in that second half and maybe the toll of the week came down pretty heavy on them in their last 60 minutes of footy."
The Gold's inaccuracy in front of goal was reminiscent of their missed opportunities earlier this month against Frankston and Coburg when they kicked a combined 12.29 in those two matches.
Defender Jesse Wallin was named the best for the Gold for his role on the Zebras' Trent Dennis-Lane.
While Dennis-Lane finished with three goals, Jones was full of praise for the work of Wallin.
"Jesse was super again today. He got a bit of a corkie and had to come off for a little bit, and straight away it exposed just how dangerous Dennis-Lane can be," Jones said.
"The way Jesse goes about his footy is just fantastic. He has real courage in his role to come off his man to lay tackles and intercept mark."
Jesse Collins was a standout across half-back.
"I've been a big fan of Jesse's for a long time and he's starting to string together some really good footy," Jones said.
"In terms of decision-making and ball-use, he is really good and he is playing with real confidence."
Utility Devin McFarlane, Matthew Farrelly and star midfielder Alik Magin (two goals) were other strong performers for the Gold.
Bendigo - which now has seven VFL games left to play - has a bye next week before playing the Casey Scorpions at the QEO on July 12.