It sounds bizarre to think players and coaches could walk away after a 46-point loss with a sense of excitement for the rest of the season but that’s exactly the feeling in the Dubbo Demons camp.
The Demons travelled to Bathurst on Saturday to take on the undefeated competition-leading Bushrangers Rebels side and suffered a 17.17.119 to 11.7.73 loss.
A slow start cost the Dubbo side, the Rebels led by 63 at half time, but the visitors won the second half despite making the trip to Bathurst without a host of regulars or enough players to have a bench.
“Losing by 40 points is never good but sitting in the sheds afterwards if it felt like a win,” coach Will Bunt said.
“Everyone was upbeat about the performance and I was really proud and pleased with them too.
“With just 18 players and the calibre of players we had unavailable for different reasons we’re feeling posiitve and looking forward to taking that into training and then we’ve got another awya game at Cowra.
“We’ve got a lot to work with, we’re really happy.”
Bunt went as far to say the Rebels, against a terribly under strength Demons side missing the likes of Jono Naden Terry Lyons and Baliey Delaney just to name three players, should “have won by 150”.
While Bunt was delighted to see his side fight back and win the second half against the odds, Rebels co-coach delivered the Dubbo side a reality check.
“The game was over by half-time and we took our foot off the gas,” Griffin said, stating a number of leading players were rested late on.
But despite that, Bunt is remaining positive.
His side began well on Saturday but failed to take its chances or even kick a goal as the Rebels got to an early 6.3.39 to 0.3.3 lead and that margin only extended in the second quarter.
But in the third quarter the Dubbo side lifted when Bunt thought the lack of reserves would mean a mammoth loss.
Jayden Wallace booted three goals for Dubbo while Ben Patterson and Hamish Pearce each kicked three.
The momentum taken from Saturday, a number of players are getting close to a return from injury and word Bunt may have even found some new recruits who could debut for the club this weekend at Cowra, has the coach excited.
“With the others coming back and the feeling in the team I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year,” he said.
“People are probably discounting us now but we can come home with a wet sail.”
While confident of his side’s chances next week, Bunt was also wary.
Cowra hasn’t won a match this season but a number of experienced players reportedly returning will no doubt improve performances.