Prahran Assumption's VAFA Division 1 season ended in a gallant first semi- final loss to Ormond on Sunday at Trevor Barker Oval.
If the game was won on courage, effort and persistence the Two Blues deserved to advance to the preliminary final.
But the harsh truth was Ormond had more polish evidenced by a 10-2 scoreline at three-quarter time.
The Two Blues had as many scoring shots – 11-11 (77) to 14-8 (92)- but as coach Ash Mills pointed out “we didn’t take our chances.’’
Yet Mills was rightly proud of the collective effort shown.
Twice the Two Blues looked to be in grave danger of being blown away only to rally.
A quarter-time lead of 21 points after first use of a gale force northerly was never going to be enough, and especially after Ormond slammed on six unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes.
But against the trend of play the Two Blues rallied and goals to Pete Cristoforo and Pat Harris trimmed the half-time margin to three points.
The game was effectively lost in the third quarter. After John Robbins kicked a fine goal on the run in the first three minutes, Ormond added three unanswered goals against the breeze and again the Two Blues seemed cooked.
But goals in time-on to Ash Dean from a free kick and Harris from a long snap around his body gave the Two Blues a two point lead and a flicker of hope.
When Matt Wall and Ryan Pascoe teamed to deliver to Cristoforo for a mark and goal in the first two minutes the prospect of a momentous win was suddenly a reality.
But former Geelong and Western Bulldogs forward Matt Robbins sprang to life and added three quick goals to snuff out the prospect of a Two Blues win.
Even then the Two Blues refused to throw in the towel narrowing the gap to six points when co captain Adam Sleight marked and goaled.
As Mills said the last quarter effort against the odds was superb.
“It would have been easy for us to roll over but we didn’t.’’
The challenge for the Two Blues now is to build on the momentum of three successive finals appearances and promotion from Division 3 to Division 1 and inject some youth into an ageing list.
It was significant that Ormond’s teenage centre half-forward Jordan Tabakman was a key contributor.
For the Two Blues “Junior’ Vuli was a stand out in defence in his best game for the year. The back line led by Vuli and Jack Matherson was valiant in the face of repeated Ormond forward forays while on ballers Wall, James Musster, Pascoe and Nathan Davey were just as heroic.
As players, officials and supporters enjoyed a post match get together at the Prahran Hotel the consensus was a positive season, with still more improvement to come.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-2 6-5 9-10 11-11 (77)
ORMOND 4-3 7-2 10-2 14-8 (92)
Goals: Cristoforo 3, Harris 2, Sleight, Matherson, Field, Dean, Robbins, Anglin.
Best: Musster, Vuli, Webb, Adams, Pascoe, Davey, Wall, Anglin.