Lions not panicking yet

Harrison Minton-Connell tries to break a tackle against Melton South. (Joe Mastroianni). 279829_02

Tara Murray

Sunbury Lions aren’t hitting the panic button just yet despite a winless start to the Ballarat Football League season.

The Lions have dropped their first three matches and are set to face Darley in a must win on Saturday.

Lions coach Travis Hodgson said starting the season 0-3 wasn’t ideal. The side is the only one without a win after the first four rounds.

“We have only been disappointed with one game,” he said. “The first two games we thought would be difficult to win.

“We were happy with our performances against North Ballarat away losing by 28 points and Melton away where we lost by six goal, but against Melton South we were really disappointing.

“We’re far from worried, we expected to be 1-2, but we are a game behind at 0-3.”

Hodgson said it was the basic errors that were what cost them most against the Panthers.

The Lions trailed all day, including by 35 points at the last break.

While they were able to reduce the margin to 15 points in the last quarter, they lost 9.12 (66)-8.9 (45).

He said the group struggled with the pressure put on them.

“Credit to Melton South,” he said. “They really pressured us.

“Not taking it away from them though, playing at Clarke Oval it was a game we expected to win.

“We had a lot of really basic skill errors, like dropping chest marks. We did some things really poorly.

“It’s really disappointing, as you expect to win certain games and that was one of them.”

Hodgson said they will get stronger in the coming weeks, with 10 of their best side missing from that match.

He said even despite that it was one they still expected to win and it was no excuse for not getting the points against the Panthers.

Jarrah Maksymow, Ben Toman, Tom Donoghue and Riley Miller were among those missing.

Jack Newitt, who plays for the Calder Cannons, along with VFL-listed players Cooper Anderson and Jake Sutton are expected to play on the weekend against the Devils with their sides having byes.

Sutton has already played a game, while Anderson has been in and out of the Bombers squad, with the Lions hoping to get a few games out of him.

“Even if we get four or five of them back every week,” Hodgson said. “It will strengthen us a little bit.”

Hodgson knows the match with Darley is one that is important in the context of the season.

“It’s a situation we are familiar with,” he said. “Last year we were 1-4 early in the season.

“It makes it hard if we don’t get early wins and it puts the pressure on us to keep winning late in the season

“Hopefully we can win two of the next three, if not all three.”

Hodgson said it wouldn’t be an easy match up.

“I think it will be a really even game,”

“They are much improved and are 2-2. Darley Park is never easy to play football.”