By Tara Murray
Macedon has a lot of work to do if it’s to be a premiership contender, according to coach Ben Tankard.
While the Cats are all but assured a finals berth in the Riddell District Football League, Tankard said the gap between them and top sides is a big one.
“We’re pretty comfortable that we will play finals,” he said.
“We’ve conceded the highest that we’ll get to is fourth, but we’ll more likely finish fifth or sixth.
“I think Diggers, Riddell and even Rupertswood are starting to play better football as the season goes on and we’re possibly not.
“Right now, I don’t think we’re a finals contender.”
Tankard said despite their current struggles, he wasn’t writing off the side.
He said when they play their best football they can match it with anyone.
“We think our best is good enough, but we’re going to have to get to work.
“I do believe in our guys. We have to find a way … whether it’s on the training track, or we break things up.”
On Saturday, the Cats were given an eye-opener against a red hot Diggers Rest.
The game was over in the first quarter as the Burras reminded everyone why they will be in the mix for the premiership.
While the Cats mounted a mini-comeback in the third quarter, the Burras responded in the last, winning 17.7 (109)-7.9 (51).
Tankard said they were completely outclassed.
“I reckon the game was over 10-15 minutes into the first quarter,” he said.
“They really had us, they used the ball really well. We made a lot of easy mistakes and every time we made a mistake they went forward and punished us and marked and goaled.
“That was the most impressive Riddell District Football League side I’ve seen in my two years.
“I think we ran into a red hot side and for me they are the red hot favourites to win the premiership.”
Tankard said they were beaten in the midfield which put the pressure back onto their defenders.
While he was pleased with how the side responded in the third quarter, he said it was a disappointing game all round.
“At half-time, we probably thought the game was gone, but we needed to restore some pride.
“We changed a few things and we got a little bit of momentum, but we didn’t get any reward for that momentum.”
Zach Smedley was the Cats best, with Glenn Campbell the only other Cats play to stand out.
The loss was compounded by an ankle injury to Karl Staudt early in the first quarter.
Macedon this week face Rockbank, they then face Romsey in a must-win game.
Romsey, Woodend-Hesket and Rupertswood were the other winners at the weekend.