Dragons on the rebound from first defeat

A TRIP to Maryborough in the middle of winter is not usually high on the wish list for any rival coach.

Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick.

Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick.

For Sandhurst coach Brett Fitzpatrick, the game at Maryborough on Saturday couldn’t come quick enough.

The Dragons have had two weeks to think about their first loss of the season and the coach is eager to see what response he gets from his players against the Magpies.

“It’s new territory for me because I haven’t seen how these players react to defeats,’’ Fitzpatrick, the first year coach of the Dragons, said.

“We’ve had a few discussions about the loss and spoken about how we want to learn from that game.

“It was a wake-up call across the board.”

Sandhurst can’t afford to dwell on the Storm result. Saturday’s encounter with a Maryborough side that has won three of its past four matches won’t be easy.

“Maryborough would love the opportunity to beat a side at the top of the table,’’ Fitzpatrick said.

“I’m sure they’ll be dishing it up to us. When we played them in round four there was nothing in the game at half-time. Maryborough could have been in front at half-time if they hadn’t of missed a couple of chances.

“It’s going to be a very tough game for us.”

Victoria Country under-18 representatives Tom Cole and Billy Evans will make their debut for Sandhurst on Saturday.

“We’re keen to have the best depth in our list available for the finals and Tom and Billy need to play two games to qualify for the finals.

“They’ll play this week and again later in the season to qualify. If they acquit themselves well at open age footy, which we expect they will, then we’ll look at playing them in the finals.”

Maryborough’s best form for the season has come on the back of even team performances.

While classy quartet Tyson MacIlwain, Luke Bucknall, Matt Bond and Kelvin Williams continue to play good football, the emergence of Billy Mahony, Matthew Jukes and Ryan Connellan has helped spark the Magpies into action.

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