Finley has been left ruing its best chance of a win this season, with inaccurate kicking in front of goal leading to a heartbreaking loss to Rumbalara in the Murray League on Saturday.
The winless Cats finished with more minor scores (19) than Rumba had scoring shots (18), yet still tasted defeat to the tune of 16 points.
Playing in front of their home crowd, the Cats were dominating play early, leading at the main break for the first time this season.
But with an inaccurate 5.11 up to half time, Finley could only manage to be in front by 10 points.
After the Cats led for most of the third term, it was Rumba making the most of their opportunities late with a goal to sneak in front by two points at the last break.
Finley’s fate was sealed early in the final term with the visitors managing two quick goals within the first five minutes, leaving the hosts to play catch-up.
Defender Sam Orro was a clear-cut best on ground for the Cats, providing plenty of run out of defence.
New recruit Tim Meulendyks booted another three goals to take his tally to seven majors from three matches, while captain Lachy Small shook off an injury cloud to lead the way for his team.
Brad Armstrong was Rumbalara’s best, while Simon Hunter continued his recent jump in form to again play well in what was the club’s first win of the season.
Final score, Rumbalara 13.5 (83) to Finley 8.19 (67).
Finley coach Rob Daniel said that his side was shattered after the loss.
‘‘We should’ve been up by at least four goals at half time but that’s not how it played out,’’ he said.
‘‘We were missing very gettable shots at goal and we were just unable to capitalise on all of our opportunities.
‘‘Rumba just ran over the top of us in the end. We were battling with injuries and just ran out of troops in the final term.
‘‘Three blokes were hindered with corkees in the third term and it started to show late.
‘‘On a positive note though, it was fantastic to see us competitive for the majority of the game.’’
The Cats will have a chance to show they have improved this season with just two more teams to face before coming up against sides they have already faced.
Daniel will use those games to show supporters that his side has made progress.
‘‘The signs are looking good for the club with blokes starting to show that their fitness levels have improved,’’ he said.
‘‘We have two more games before we start playing against sides we have already come up against and we’ll be looking to at least be more competitive in our second round against those teams.
‘‘I truly believe that if we can straighten up our goalkicking and play the way we did on Saturday that we will be able to come away with a win at some point this year.’’
The Cats had some help on Saturday with Allister Clarke travelling with a few friends to line up for the club.
Daniel said he was thankful for their help.
‘‘Allister and the rest of his crew played well for us,’’ he said.
‘‘They all managed to get a clearance for the weekend but won’t be regulars in the side.
‘‘Sam Orro continues to improve and showed his true value on Saturday as well.
‘‘What was really fantastic to see was the reserves win, and win big, too.
‘‘We’ve struggled to put together a twos side this year but we knew we were in with a chance to pinch a win this week.
‘‘Unfortunately we couldn’t continue the trend in the seniors though.’’
As mentioned by Daniel, it was a tremendous day for the Cats in the reserves, with a 58 point win at home.
Oliver Le Lievre slotted four majors in a best on ground effort to drive the side to their first win of the year.
Final score, Finley 13.10 (88) to Rumbalara 4.6 (30).
Other strong performers for the Cats were Paul Evans, Murray Urquhart, Simon Fuller, Phil Beazley and Stephen Harrison.
Finley travel to take on Congupna at Memorial Park on Saturday.