Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Northern Knights could not make the most of opportunities in front of goal in an intense final three minutes to draw in TAC Cup competition at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
The sixth-placed Knights were strong in the opening quarter before the Rebels fought back to lead for most of the second half.
Both teams remained goalless in what was an arm-wrestle in the final quarter, until the Knights broke the drought with a major at the 22nd minute mark to level the score.
Rebels coach Gerard FitzGerald said he was pleased his players had remained in the contest against a team higher on the ladder, especially after a trend of fading away late in games.
“In recent weeks we’ve threatened and challenged the opposition, but we just have not been able to sustain the effort,” FitzGerald said.
FitzGerald said the Rebels had achieved the key focus areas from quarter time onwards, which included consistency in winning the ball and getting it forward, improving stoppage outcomes, and maintaining a solid work rate.
He said the message in the final minutes of the game when scores were level was to try and keep the ball in the forward 50, while sticking to the team’s structure.
“Sometimes in a close game there can be a little bit of a feeling that players need to win it off their own boot,” FitzGerald said.
“But the result will come about from team discipline… just being able to maintain the structure you’ve been taught behind the ball, forward of the ball and around the ball, and continue to do the things that will benefit the team rather than seek individual glory.”
The Rebels lost Luke Bull in the fourth term, who was stretchered off the ground.
FitzGerald said the club would know more about the injury in the coming days.
Top performances included Trent Reed with 30 possessions and eight tackles, Naish McRoberts with 24 possessions and six marks, Matty Lloyd with 22 possessions, and Elliot Lamb with 19 possessions and seven tackles.