The Bendigo Pioneers paid dearly for a sluggish first quarter in their narrow loss to the Calder Cannons in NAB League Girls action on Saturday.
The Pioneers conceded the first three goals of the game in the opening quarter before storming home in the second half to give themselves a chance of victory.
Despite having the majority of the play inside their own forward 50 in the final five minutes, the Pioneers couldn't find one extra goal to grab the lead on the scoreboard and the Cannons clung on to win, 6.5 (41) to 5.6 (36).
"We actually started all guns ablazing in the first five minutes and it looked like we had complete control,'' Pioneers' coach Danny O'Bree said.
"The next 15 minutes were a different story.
"We're always learning. We still have girls that have played anywhere between one, two and 10 games of footy. That's the reality of our program. There's going to be times where we are inconsistent and there's going to be times when we play sensational footy - that's exactly what we got in this game."
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The Pioneers still trailed by 16 points at the final change before adding 2.1 to 0.2 in the last quarter.
"We had a reshuffle at three quarter-time because we thought we weren't moving the footy as efficiently as we could,'' O'Bree said.
"We put a lot of our best kicks behind the ball...and we were able to move the ball forward and keep it locked in for the majority of the final quarter. We had our chances in the final quarter, but we just fell short."
Forward Teagan Williams kicked three of the Pioneers' five goals and was named best player.
Midfielders Octavia Di Donato (24 possessions), Scarlett Orritt (14 possessions), Lucia Painter (15 possessions) and Drew Ryan (20 possessions) won plenty of the ball, while 15-year-old Jemmika Douglass impressed again.
The Pioneers are back on home soil next Sunday when they host the Murray Bushrangers at Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve from noon.
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