Pressure focus for Calder
MAINTAINING pressure for longer periods has been a key focus for Calder Cannons as the club searches for a breakthrough TAC Cup win against Gippsland Power.
The Cannons were competitive for large periods of their clash against second-placed Murray Bushrangers on Saturday, but went down 10.17 (77) to 9.4 (58) at Rams Arena.
Calder was made to pay for a poor first half, gifting Murray the initiative as the visitors claimed a 30-point lead at the main break.
Two Jack Bytel goals in the last quarter brought the Cannons back to within four points, before the Bushrangers’ quality shone through and enabled them to hold on.
Calder coach Andrew Johnston said his side had shown glimpses of the football it needed to produce regularly to threaten the competition’s best sides.
“You do all this lot of work and you get reward for it, you get a goal,” Johnston said.
“But then it’s the next one you have got to work even harder for. Then it’s the next one, work even harder.
“Our guys, we are getting better at it. Unfortunately they tend to get one and work really hard and then don’t work hard enough to get the next one.
“Or the opposition get a quick one back and all of a sudden it undoes the work you did the first time to get scoreboard pressure.”
The Cannons’ coaching staff drew several positives from the loss to Murray, including the continued stellar form of Vic Metro candidates Noah Balta and Mitch Podhajski.
Podhajski has been a revelation in defence during the start of his second TAC Cup season, with Johnston labelling his opening six games “sensational”.
He had 24 disposals, nine marks and two tackles against the Bushrangers, while Balta was named Calder’s best player after a game which featured 16 possessions, two marks and 19 hit outs.
Johnston said Aidan Tilley, Bytel and Ben Caluzzi were other standouts, adding his side’s ability to stay in games for longer suggested its first win of 2017 was not far away.
“If we can do that for longer and put some genuine pressure on the opposition, it gives us a chance,” he said.
“When you drop off, the competition the way it is, it just hurts you. Games aren’t going to get any easier.”
Calder travels to Morwell on Saturday to face seventh-placed Gippsland, which has a 2-4 record.
The Round 7 fixture starts at 1pm.