Sunday 12 September 2010

Southport coach Craig Crowley was left to rue his side’s inability to finish off Morningside in the last quarter of today’s preliminary final when they had the Panthers on the back foot.

When the Sharks closed to within a goal with eight minutes remaining, they had all the momentum, but could not deliver the knockout blow.

“We gave ourselves every chance by playing a little bit more proactive,” Crowley said.

“Late in the game they (Morningside) got their numbers behind the footy and we tended to bomb away. How we got to where we were was by picking out and identifying a target, having a shot on goal and converting.

“But you shouldn’t leave it up to the last 10 minutes of a game to try and win it.

“The biggest harm was in the third quarter when they put on those three or four goals.”

In direct contrast to the qualifying final a fortnight ago when Morningside kicked into a strong breeze and broke even with the Sharks, it was Southport who did exactly that to the Panthers today.

However, the difference was that the Sharks were unable to gain a matchwinning lead with the wind in the second quarter, although the breeze was not as strong for the Sharks.

“Their pressure in the second quarter was good and didn’t allow us to hit our targets like we would have liked,” Crowley said.

“We probably didn’t work hard enough for each other and couldn’t get our players free. To their credit, they worked hard and didn’t allow us the chances, like we did in the first quarter.”

Losing Grogan Medallist and big game player Danny Wise to the hamstring strain that kept him out of the first semi-final was a massive blow for the Sharks, although Crowley did not dwell on the absence of his skipper.

“You have got to remember we won very, very well last week without Wisey,” Crowley said. “He would have been significant no doubt, but still had 23 out there we believed could win the game and we went pretty close.”

Crowley put Morningside’s game-breaking 5.6 to 1.0 third quarter down to some mental errors.

“We played some dumb footy at times. We didn’t make the right decisions in the third quarter,” he said.

“We wanted to kick to the far side and defend, but we opened ourselves up a couple of times, a and they pressured us pretty hard. We just needed to push it out of bounds and re-set where we could.

“It wasn’t a pretty game of football to watch. Both sides missed a lot of targets. We were lucky enough to convert some goals to give us a chance to be close at the end of the day.”

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