WINNING or losing close games separates the good teams from the not so good.
Regrettably Prahran, for now, fits into the latter category.
Jarring though it may be, the Two Blues are making an art form of losing close matches in VAFA Division 1 in 2023.
This season exhibit A is round 1 v Oakleigh- scores level in time-on, lose by 13 points.
Exhibit B round 3 v Glen Eira- Prahran holds a 10 point three quarter-time lead in a low scoring match, lose by 10 points.
Exhibit C round 4 v Therry Penola- trail by seven points at three quarter-time, lose by six points.
It is an unpalatable storyline which has landed the Two Blues in danger of making an early exit from the finals race.
As coach Brett Dickinson told his players post game they have “dug a deep hole” for themselves.
While the collective effort was commendable as Dickinson rightly observed arch rival Therry Penola wanted the win just that little bit more.
The early losses of key defenders Jayden Williams to concussion and Luke Kerr to a shoulder injury left the Two Blues two men short for rotations for the second half.
But while their absence was a factor the Two Blues still had their chances.
The third quarter was where the Two Blues frittered away forward 50 dominance with a paltry return of 0-5 which in the end cost them victory.
There were early alarm bells for the Two Blues first home game of the season when the visitors kicked 2-2 before Prahran could score.
Goals to Jon Simonetta and Ethan Plaza levelled scores at quarter time.
A Matthew Clifford goal gave the Two Blues the lead for the first time mid-way through the second term.
A 50m penalty gave Therry Penola a quick reply and regain the lead.
Although scores were level several times thereafter the Two Blues would not lead for the rest of the match.
When Therry Penola kicked the crucial first goal two minutes into the last quarter to open a 14 point lead it was game over.
Not to be denied Prahran rallied with Simonetta goaling after a free kick and Mackenzie Mayne converting a long goal after a 50m penalty narrowing the margin to three points.
.But the visitors added three more points controlling most of the vital five last minutes.
Co captains James Musster and Rory Brodie were tireless in their efforts to inspire their teammates.
The defence held up admirably in the absence of Williams and Kerr but it was the decision making going into the forward 50 arc that hurt.
Simonetta was one of the few Two Blues to show the required foot skills while there were turnovers galore from many teammates.
PRAHRAN 2-2 5-3 5-8 7-8 (50)
THERRY PENOLA 2-2 5-6 6-9 7-14 (56)
Goals. J. Simonetta 2, M. Clifford 2, M. Mayne, E. Plaza, Z. Podmore
Best R. Brodie, J. Musster, J. Simonetta, J. Gottschalk, Z. Podmore, M. Mayne
The Reserves posted their first win of the season in emphatic style scoring by 84 points and keeping Therry Penola goalless.
Jackson Partridge stated his case for a return to the seniors with three goals.
PRAHRAN 4-3 7-3 10-8 13-10 (88)
Therry Penola 0-2 0-2 0-4 0-4 (4)
Goals:J. Partridge 3, A. Perez 2, V. Brigante 2, T. Bowes 2, P. Petrucci 2, D. Marrows, T. Bamford.
Best :J. Partridge, P. Rhodes, N. O'Sullivan, A. Lawson, D. Campbell, R Bedwell.
PRAHRAN 3-2 4-34-4 7-5 (47)
Old Camberwell 3-1 5-2 9- 12-10 (82)