The Benalla Saints’ lack of fight against the Shepparton Bears is not concerning to their head coach.
Luke Morgan said Saturday’s 68-point loss at Deakin Reserve was ‘‘probably the worst loss of the season’’, but says he still backs his charges.
The loss also means the Saints’ curse of not having won against a higher-ranked side in the GVFL is still unbroken.
The Saints’ three-game winning streak was snapped in the shadow of a two-week break, which will see round 16 played on August 12.
Because of the loss, there is still a slim chance the Saints can miss out on finals completely if Echuca win all of its remaining matches and the Saints lose to Rochester, Mansfield and Tatura in the final three weeks.
But Morgan said on the flip side of the coin, the side could finish as high as third.
‘‘They do become must-win games now, but we can still finish as high as third if the results go our way and we play the way we know we can. It’s in our hands,’’ he said.
‘‘We back our boys and they’ve done pretty well in the season so far. We’ll keep backing them to get the results in these last few games.’’
The Saints will host sixth-placed Rochester on August 12 at the Benalla Showgrounds.
Meanwhile in the under-18s Saints match, the Benalla side escaped with an 11-point win over the Bears.
Benalla scored the only major of the first quarter to hold a four-point lead, before the scores were levelled at half-time.
The Saints were in the familiar position of having no fit players on the interchange to finish the game, but they held on to take second spot on the ladder.
Score: Benalla 6.8 (44) defeated Shepparton 4.9 (33).
Best-on-ground for the Saints were Wade King, Nathan Hill, Michael Ryan, Blake Uebergang, Baily MacDonald and Jack Seketa.
In the reserves, the Saints were outclassed by the Bears and lost by 136 points.
At half-time the margin had blown out to 75 points, and the second half compiled the Saints’ pain.
Score: Benalla 2.1 (13) lost to Shepparton 22.17 (149).
Best on for the Saints were Austin Thompson, Toby Feehan, Nathan Hill, Shaun Silver, Dale Nichols and Liam O’Brien.