K rock Football

Falcons hoping for a change of luck

Can the Geelong Falcons add to their lone win in the second half of the season? (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Barlett)

SO close, yet so far away.

It’s an old phrase that just about sums up Geelong Falcons’ first half of the 2019 NAB League season.

Luke Daffy’s side managed just one win from its opening nine matches before the mid-season bye.

But had the results of a draw and three defeats by single-figure margins turned out slightly more favourably, the ladder could have a completely different look.

“We’ve been in some really strong positions and been super competitive, but we just haven’t quite been consistent enough,” Daffy said.

“It’s been the story of the season – we just have patches of football where we sort of switch off or lose a bit of focus.

“Then sometimes we just don’t continue to attack the game.

“Moving forward in the second half of the year we’re going to encourage our players to play on instinct and continue to take the game on.

“Hopefully that will help them to really benefit from those situations that they’ve learnt from earlier in the year where it’s been disappointing to get beaten in really close games.”

The win-loss column aside, Daffy has been impressed by individuals’ development this year.

Vic Country representative duo Henry Walsh and Ollie Henry, as well as classy defender Cameron Fleeton, have been the standout bottom-age players in a team that has used close to 50 players to date this season.

In the top age bracket, players like Keidan Rayner, Charlie Harris, Sam Bourke, Jesse Clark and Sam Christensen have all taken their games to new levels ahead of the 2019 AFL Draft in November.

“We’ve got a small group of players who we think are definitely in conversations for the draft at the moment,” Daffy said.

“As a coaching group, and as a club, we’ve got to work really closely with them to keep developing their strengths.

“We’re hopeful that come Draft time at the end of the year we definitely have a handful of guys who get their names read out.”

The Falcons’ season resumes when they take on Bendigo Pioneers at Ballarat’s MARS Stadium on Saturday and Daffy believes the reward for effort isn’t too far away.

“They’re a super resilient and really positive group,” he said.

“You turn up after some of these really close losses, and there’s just an eagerness to learn.

“The kids are asking questions and doing a little bit extra during the week to really try to develop their games.

“It’s probably been the most impressive aspect of the whole thing.

“The playing group can see that we’re not that far off and now it’s about taking responsibility in those situations when they get it and making sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Tanner Bruhn and Jay Dahlhaus are set to return from knee injuries for the Falcons before the end of the season, while co-captain Cooper Stephens is in a race against time as he continues his rehabilitation from a fractured leg.

Twitter: @shayne_hope