CLOSE, but not close enough has been the story early in the season for Sandhurst in the Bendigo Football-Netball League.
The Dragons are 0-3 for the first time since 2013 to be one of two sides, along with Maryborough, yet to win a game after three rounds.
The Dragons have faced a challenging start to the season with games against Gisborne, Strathfieldsaye and South Bendigo and while they have no points to show for their efforts so far, they haven't been without their chances in all three games.
The Dragons trailed Gisborne by one point at three quarter-time at Gardiner Reserve in round one before going down by 26 points.
They led Strathfieldsaye during the final term in round two at the QEO before fading late in what was also a 26-point defeat.
And last Saturday they dominated most of the statistical categories, including scoring shots (+2), disposals (+38), inside 50s (+7), hit-outs (+43), tackles (+9) and clearances (+24), but lost to South Bendigo by eight points.
"It has been frustrating that we can look good for a period of the game and then just do some really silly things with the footy and make some really poor decisions that cost us goals," Sandhurst coach Ashley Connick said after the clash with the Bloods.
"The times when we get it right we look as good a side as there is, but we don't have much too show for it early in the year.
"But our only option is to keep fronting up... there's 15 games to go and we'll be trying to win 15 games."
The Dragons' best player in last Saturday's loss to the Bloods was Collingwood VFL-listed Cobi Maxted.
With Matt Thornton (hamstring) sidelined, Maxted provided the Dragons with a strong forward presence, taking 11 marks, including six contested, kicking six goals and earning 121 Premier Data ranking points.
"For a 20-year-old to be as dangerous a forward as there was on the ground and kick six for us and have a couple of other chances in a game where our forward delivery wasn't great, he really stood up and is a quality kid," Connick said.
The Dragons will be back on the QEO this Saturday to host Kangaroo Flat - a team they have won 18 in a row against - in round four.
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