A late flurry of goals from Prahran Assumption could not disguise a lamentable lack of effort, notably in the first half, against previously winless Old Mentonians in VAFA Division 1 on Saturday.
The four point loss flattered the Two Blues who were listless in the first half with a catalogue of skill errors while the youthful Old Mentonians, with its oldest player just 25, gave the Two Blues a lesson in hard running and intensity.
A first quarter of seven goals to three with the aid of a strong breeze set the tone for the match with Prahran Assumption always struggling to keep in touch.
At half-time the gap had been narrowed to 16 points but a volley of four goals in four minutes midway through the third quarter seemed to have made the game safe for Old Mentonians.
Late quarter goals into the wind from Ged Hogarth and Trent Rogers narrowed the deficit to 17 points, coming home with the wind.
The margin extended to 23 points half-way through the last quarter before the Two Blues made one final rally.
Goals to James Musster and Hogarth narrowed the gap to 10 points at the 21 minutes mark and then Musster capitalised on a kick in error to make it a four point margin at the 27 minute mark. The final minutes saw the ball in the Two Blues forward 50m, as Old Mentonians bravely held on for a deserved with in front of their home fans 16-11 (107) to 14-13 (103).
“Too little, too late,’’ was coach Ash Mills harsh but accurate summary.
Mills was critical of the players pre game preparation which was in sharp contrast to two weeks earlier v Bulleen Templestowe.
Although Prahran Assumption showed grit to claw its way back into the game given the loss of injured Blayne Dempsey and skipper Jack Matherson before half-time, Mills lamented the lack of commitment in the first half and poor skill level.
Both Dempsey (foot) and Matherson (shoulder) are likely to be missing for several weeks.
Encouraging signs were five goals from first gamer Ged Hogarth and ‘Junior” Vuli who the only player in the first half seemingly immune from a fit of the fumbles.
Musster and Paul Donahoo showed their leadership qualities by leading the second half rally.
The loss leaves the Two Blues as one of five teams with a win and two losses meaning victory is imperative to square the ledger on Saturday against neighbour Old Geelong for the return to Toorak Park.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-3 6-7 11-9 15-13 (103)
OLD MENTONIANS 7-3 9-5 14-8 16-11 (107)
Goals: Hogarth 5, Sleight, Robbins 2, Laverty, Anglin, Donahoo,
Musster, Maya, Rogers.
Best: Donahoo, N Costin, Musster, Rogers, Webb, Hogarth.
The Reserves remain unbeaten after an 82 point demolition of Old Mentonians.
The youthful Old Mentonians could muster only three scoring shots while Prahran Assumption dominated the second half after a low scoring opening half.
An 8-7 to zero third quarter was a commanding statement from the Reserves who are building momentum under first season coach Josh Ancrum.
The game was notable for the return of 100 game senior player Michael Bremner from a serious knee injury.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-5 3-8 11-15 14-16 (100)
OLD MENTONIANS 1-0 2-0 2-0 3-0 (18)
The Clubbies posted their first win of the season against Old Geelong after a spirited six goals third quarter.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3-2 4-6 10-8 12-13 (85)
OLD GEELONG 2-4 6-4 8-5 9-6 (60)