THE Griffith Swans’ Riverina Football League finals dreams are all but gone after a late collapse saw them give up a healthy lead against Collingullie Ashmont Kapooka at Exies Oval on Saturday.
Needing to win their last two games to sneak into the top five, the Swans saw their 33-point lead at the main break eroded, as they lost 15.9 (99) to 11.8 (74).
Poor decisions at crucial times again cost the Swans as they kicked just a single point in the third term to let the Demons back into the game.
Like a broken record, Griffith Swans coach Guy Orton lamented his side’s inability to turn their potential into a consistent four-quarter effort.
“It shows we’re not really that far off a team like that especially how tight the game was and the standard of how we played in the first half,” Orton said.
“It seemed like we didn’t come out after half-time, it’s just disappointing because we worked so hard in the first half to get the lead that we had.
“We worked the ball around so well in the first half, but in the second it was like we were a different team and we played the game they wanted us to play and we let them get away with things.”
Griffith were in the box seat to knock off the competition leader after kicking 10.5 in the first half, but their sluggish third term was combined with the Demons kicking six goals to see them grab the lead.
From there the visitors used the momentum to push home their advantage and boot another four majors in the final term to seal the win.
“It’s something I have questioned myself and I has asked the other coaches, what can you do to get over this?” Orton said of his side’s inability to finish games.
“It seems to be the same sort of thing over and over that has cost us games, I just have to get it out of the guys’ heads, whether it’s because we’re up and we ‘don’t have to try as much’.
“I’m not sure, but it only takes 10 minutes for a lull and things are even.”
Griffith now finds itself in the same situation as the 2011 finals race, which saw them miss out on percentage, with the locals needing several factors to fall their way if they are to extend their season.
“Mathematically we still make it but we have to rely on other teams winning to help us out and we have to win well next weekend (against Wagga Tigers),” Orton said.
“We wanted to make our own path to the finals but that’s football, and if we don’t make it then we’ll just build and get stronger for next year.”
The loss was further soured by the injuries to Brett Owen (hamstring) and Matt Crack (ankle) with the pair in serious doubt for next weekend.