HONOURABLE losses. Ballan coach Mark Williams has had enough.
While the Blues have moved quickly from Central Highlands Football League also-rans to a highly competitive outfit in the space of one pre-season, narrow defeats against the top sides are hard to take.
And they have come thick and fast in 2014.
The Blues have quickly started to earn the respect of opposition teams with all four of their losses coming against likely finalists and by fewer than three goals.
Ballan pushed Daylesford only to lose by 14 points in round one and almost pinched victory against Waubra before going down by five points the following week. The Blues matched it with unbeaten Learmonth until the final term to go down by 17 points in round three and after three-straight victories, lost to back-to-back grand finalists Buninyong on Saturday by 16 points.
Williams vented his disappointment in a passionate post-match address in the rooms on Saturday, taking aim at training standards and being mentally switched on to avoid poor starts like the one that occurred against the Bombers.
“We are not that far away,” he said to his charges.
“We can’t keeping copping honourable losses. It’s just not good enough and it won’t be good enough.”
Williams, who took over the coaching role late last season, then spoke to The Courier about how far his group has come in such a short space of time.
“We have improved out of sight and that’s just due to the training and the work that we have put in since Christmas. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.
Ballan sits 10th on the ladder after round seven with an extra win and more than double the percentage it had at the same stage of 2013.