Dubbo Demons coach Will Bunt has been left frustrated after his side threw away a strong start in Saturday's Central West AFL match at Orange.
The Demons, chasing a first win over a top three side this season, flew out of the sheds on Saturday and booted the first three goals of the match against the Tigers at Bloomfield Park.
The Orange side got back within five points at quarter time and from there it was all about the hosts, who went on to score a convincing 13.15.93 to 6.11.47 victory.
Bunt was dejected after the loss, with the side's inability to stick to his gameplan to most disappointing aspect of the defeat.
"Well fell away and I'm just not sure what happened," he said.
It's frustrating we didn't stick to what we did in the first quarter.
"Their skills were a bit better and they were a lot taller so our plan was to keep it low and play along the ground but we didn't do it. We kept just kicking it long and that worked to their advantage.
"It's frustrating we didn't stick to what we did in the first quarter. We need to continually stick to it and consistently do that."
While the Demons can not miss out on a finals place, they're guaranteed fourth spot with one round remaining, the fact the side has not beaten any of the other three finalists appears a concern.
But Bunt remains confident, saying it was just a few "little things" which went wrong on Saturday and there was no reason to panic.
Bunt's men meet the competition-leading Bathurst Bushranger Rebels in the final round, back at South Dubbo Oval next weekend, and that's one game the coach is very much looking forward to.
"We've had a run of away games and the availability has been mixed so we've had people coming in and out and haven't had that continuity.
"But back at home we'll have a strong squad and that home ground advantage and it's a chance to get some form back.
"I'm confident of getting a win and then heading into (finals) the next week."
In terms of Saturday's 46-point defeat there was still some positive for Bunt.
Jono Naden and Hamish Pearce were their consistent strong selves while Liam Hartnett was praised for having his best game of the season, playing further forward than he normally has this year.
He combined well down one edge with Malachi Dutschke and Mick Daly while youngster Alex Randall also tagged Tigers star Josh Bubnich well in the midfield.
No player kicked multiple goals for the Demons while Lucas Kelly booted three for the victorious hosts, who moved into second spot on the ladder after the Outlaws’ shock loss to the Giants in the Bathurst derby.