Sandhurst’s shock loss to Strathfieldsaye in round one could be a blessing for the Dragons, according to coach Wayne Primmer.
The reigning premiers went down to the Storm by 13 points in a performance Primmer labelled “uncharacteristic”.
The Dragons trailed by the best part of seven goals early in the second term before reeling in the Storm and establishing what appeared to be a match-winning two goal lead midway through the final quarter.
Against the flow of play the Storm recovered to stun the Dragons and clinch the four points.
Primmer said the Dragons’ review of the match on Tuesday night was open and honest.
“We did a lot of things on the weekend that were uncharacteristic from last year,’’ Primmer said.
“We spoke about how our skill level wasn’t good, but in saying that Strathfieldsaye’s pressure was very good.
“We also spoke about not sticking our tackles. Last year we were very good at that. They are just little things that we need to improve on.
“We didn’t play well for the first quarter-and-a-bit and for the final 15 minutes. In the second and third quarters and for the first half of the last quarter we played some good footy,’’ he said.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t win, but you have to give credit to Strathfieldsaye. They came ready to play, they played clean footy and put us under pressure.
“We know the opposition is going to do everything in its power to change the way we play because it’s a challenge to play the team that won the grand final the year before.”
The defeat continued Sandhurst’s recent trend of losing in round one.
The Dragons have only won in round one once in the past six years.
Four of their five round one defeats in that period have been at the hands of Strathfieldsaye.
Last year they lost to the Storm by 32 points in round one before going on to win 18 of their next 19 games to win the flag.
The Dragons will regain premiership forward Pascale Craig for Saturday night’s round two clash with Castlemaine at the QEO.
Key defender Hamish Leahy could resume the following week, while Lachlan Ross, Lachlan Watson, Jon Coghlan and Zac East are all still to return to the senior line-up as well.
BFNL round two fixture: 2.20pm – Eaglehawk v Kangaroo Flat, Golden Square v Strathfieldsaye, Gisborne v South Bendigo. 5.30pm – Maryborough v Kyneton, Sandhurst v Castlemaine.