The Murray Bushrangers will need plenty to go their way in the final three rounds of the NAB League under-18 girls competition if they are to feature in the finals.
The Bushrangers show their tackling prowess on Saturday — registering 91 — but the they were no match for the Oakleigh Chargers, going down by 54 points at Warrawee Park.
Seymour’s Sophie Locke was a standout in defence and Finley’s Lily Sharp was manic around the contest with her pressure acts.
Shepparton United’s Kate Adams, Charlie Boschetti and Aurora Smith were also named in the list of better players in the 11.8 (74) to 3.2 (20) loss.
Bushrangers coach Tim Madden praised his side’s effort around the contest and credited the Oakleigh defence.
‘‘We started really well in the first term and our intensity and tackling around the contest didn’t drop all day,’’ Madden said.
‘‘But after quarter-time, they showed their class and got on top of us at the stoppages.
‘‘And too many times we turned the ball over in attack and they hurt us on the rebound, so full credit to their defence structure.’’
Madden heralded the performances of Locke, Sharp and the trio of Shepparton United players in the tough loss.
‘‘Sophie did a great job cutting off Oakleigh’s attacks with her intercept marking and she gave us plenty of drive out of defence,’’ he said.
‘‘Lily laid plenty of tackles and hunted the opposition in the forward half, and Charli held onto some strong marks up forward.
‘‘And Kate and Aurora gave us solid contributions in the midfield and I thought their attack on the contest was great.’’
Madden also said a few standout players from the Bushrangers’ NAB League Futures Competition would start to enter the side as they looked to fast-track their development.
Benalla’s Keeley Skepper and Tatura’s Sarah Lange-Richards featured in the better players in the Futures’ 11-point loss to Oakleigh, with Seymour duo Chloe Locke and Emily Chapman hitting the scoreboard.
‘‘There is plenty to like from the group in the Futures competition and we’ll probably look to start playing them in coming weeks,’’ he said.
The Bushrangers have the weekend off to refresh and recharge the batteries before they host Sandringham at Wangaratta on April 27.
Murray Bushrangers 2.0, 3.1, 3.1, 3.2 (20)
Oakleigh Chargers 2.0, 5.3, 8.7, 11.8 (74)
Bushies goal-kickers: Charli Boschetti 2, Tali Verhoeven 1
Bushies best: Sophie Locke, Lily Sharp, Kate Adams, Charli Boschetti, Aurora Smith, Abby Favell