K rock Football

No finals for Falcons

Geelong Falcon Noah Gribble looks for an option in the 103-point loss to Sandringham Dragons at Preston City Oval. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Barlett)

GEELONG Falcons’ 18-year finals streak is officially over after a 103-point thrashing from Sandringham Dragons in Saturday’s NAB League Wildcard Round match-up at Preston City Oval.

The Falcons were competitive in the first term but coughed up eight unanswered goals in the second as the competition’s fourth-ranked side took complete control of the contest.

It got worse, with the Dragons piling on another six goals to one in the final term to run out 20.6 (126) to 3.5 (23) winners.

“We were pretty much just completely outplayed today,” Falcons coach Luke Daffy said.

“We weren’t very clean around the footy and fumbled considerably. It just meant that we couldn’t get first use.

“They moved the footy pretty quickly and they were really efficient, which we sort of expected with how they play, and then we didn’t get an opportunity to play the game in our front half.

“I don’t think anybody likes to lose by 100 points. Our focus was to come and really compete, but we felt like in that second quarter we weren’t competitive.

“The boys fought it out in that second half, but I just think we were outclassed by a better side.”

Angus Hanrahan (31 disposals), Ryan Byrnes (27) and Darcy Chirgwin (27) found plenty of the ball for Sandringham and Miles Bergman (four goals) cashed in on his teammates’ dominance in the midfield.

Archie Hildebrandt kicked two goals for the Falcons as Charlie Lazzaro (18 disposals) Noah Gribble (15) tried to give their side drive.

Daffy reserved praise for bottom-age defender Cam Fleeton, who finished off a fine season on a personal level with another strong display in the backline.

“Cam Fleeton was very good again in a key position down back and was just rock solid,” Daffy said.

“We gave him a role and he defended really well again, so he should be really proud of the season that he’s had as a 17-year-old playing on top-age forwards and doing a really good job.”

The defeat brought down the curtain on a tough season for Geelong in Daffy’s first year in charge.

The Falcons won only three games, drew one, and lost four matches by single-figure margins.

Twitter: @shayne_hope

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS  3.0, 11.4, 14.4, 20.6 (126)

GEELONG FALCONS  1.1, 1.2, 2.4, 3.5 (23)

Goals; Sandringham Dragons: M. Bergman 4, B. O”Leary 2, H. Ralphsmith 2, F. McAsey 2, C. Dean 2, J. Bell 2, R. Byrnes, H. Loughnan, K. Yorke, D. Chirgwin, F. Maginness, A. Perkins

Geelong Falcons: A. Hildebrandt 2, T. Bruhn

Best; Sandringham Dragons: D. Chirgwin, J. Bell, C. Dean, H. Loughnan, M. Bergman, L. Butler

Geelong Falcons: C. Fleeton, T. Bruhn, C. Lazzaro, A. Hildebrandt, G. Bove, J. Clark