NORTH Bendigo coach Matt Dillon and his players will be haunted by 20 minutes of football during the off-season in the wake of Saturday’s nine-point grand final loss to Leitchville-Gunbower.
The Bulldogs ended the game with more scoring shots than the Bombers (25-24), dominated out of the middle (19-10), and if you exclude a 20-minute patch in the second term outscored their rivals 12.11 to 7.9.
But for 20 minutes during the second quarter the Bulldogs were unable to shut down the transition run of the Bombers, who slammed on 7.1 to 0.2 during that period that left North Bendigo to endure the bitter taste of grand final defeat for the second year in a row.
“Leitchy is a ripping side and they showed that in the second quarter. We lost our way in the second quarter and probably got lazy and selfish through that period with guys not sticking to what we had set in place,” Dillon said.
“Things weren’t looking great at half-time (37 points down), but the boys dug in after half-time and worked hard to fight back. Take nothing away from Leitchy, but we will be kicking ourselves for that poor second quarter.”
North Bendigo’s Jordan Ford booted six of the Bulldogs’ 12 goals and was awarded the AFL Victoria best-on-ground medal, while skipper Jarrod Findlay kicked four in his surprise return following a shoulder injury.
“Fordy’s a super player. He was fantastic today and showed why he’s up with the best players in the competition. And I thought Ballsy’s (Findlay) was one of the bravest efforts I’ve seen from a player given the injury he has had,” Dillon said.
The Bulldogs suffered injuries to Zach Alford (medial) late and Sean Morris (collarbone).
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