WFL - Stawell Westlift Warriors joint coach Jamie Solyom has praised his team's ability to put aside mid season off field drama to come together and play as a team after their 82 point loss to the Warrack Eagles in their final outing of the 2013 Wimmera Football League season.
As they have on many occasions throughout the year the young team showed glimpses of what makes for a winning performance, but a lapse in the second half of the second term proved costly.
Warriors matched it with their opponents in the first quarter with best on ground Zac Marrow and Tom Eckel again finding a lot of the ball and working hard to clear it to space.
Jamie Bach broke the Eagles run of first quarter goals with a major from just inside the forward 50 while a good first quarter return from Sam Harbinson saw him kick one approaching quarter time.
The deficit was just 10 points at the first break and after a late goal from Brenton Potter Stawell got the spark they needed.
The intensity lifted and the home side hit its straps in the second term. Cam Kimber got the ball moving through the midfield, while Shane Field gave his all in one last showing for the year.
Some good work from John Pollock inside the forward 50 and another two goals from Brenton Potter saw Stawell snatch the lead, but only for a short time.
Warriors were unable to sustain the tempo and after missing early opportunities the Eagles converted on goal and regained the ascendancy.
By half time the margin had risen to 27 points and Solyom told the group the result was on the line and that it could go one of two ways.
"The game is on the line, it is up to each and every one of you to decide which way it is going to go," he said.
"I'm putting it on you blokes to take this game by the scruff off the neck or we can give it up now. Do it for your mates."
The Eagles kicked six unanswered goals in the third quarter and the margin blew out to 67 points.
At three quarter time Solyom implored his players to win the quarter. They didn't, but played a more attacking brand of football that yielded four last quarter goals.
In his final address for the year Solyom told the playing group that if they could stick together, he had no doubt that in the years ahead they would see success.
"Stay together, because I know that in the two to five years ahead there will be success to come. Stick together and things will change," he said.
Solyom said the fitness level at the club had been a problem all season and as they looked to next year it would be a focus.
He also had praise for young captains Tom Eckel and Todd Matthews who led the club all season.
Matthews said he didn't believe the team's season had been that bad considering the immaturity of the playing group.
"When you have blokes who are 20 or 21 and only a couple of them have 50 senior games under their belts you are going to have lapses," he said.
Matthews said the team had become closer following the mid season departure of their former coach and they trained harder in the the second half of the season, treating it as a mini-pre season.