A dominant display from TAC Cup ladder leaders the Dandenong Stingrays handed the Sandringham Dragons their fourth loss of the season, 15.16 (106) to 4.4 (28), on Sunday.
Moving two points clear of second-placed Gippsland Power after eight rounds, the Stingrays led from the first bounce, kicking eight goals to one in the first half.
In dewy conditions at Shepley Oval, Sandringham struggled to capitalise on opportunities and quell Dandenong’s pressure.
Sandringham kicked the first two goals of the second half, providing a glimpse of hope for the young Dragons outfit, but the Stingrays’ class shone through as they piled on six of the final eight goals.
Assistant coach Jackson Kornberg, who was acting game day coach, said the performance was riddled with inconsistencies.
“It was a really disappointing game today,” he said.
“At stages, in particular the third quarter, we showed glimpses of Dragons footy, but the overriding theme was inconsistency of effort and intent.
“Dandenong are a strong ground ball and contested ball side and they proved that today.
“It was a great learning for our boys to come up against a fierce outfit who hunt in numbers.” Returning to the Dragons line-up, Darcy Chirgwin received the coaches’ award after gathering 21 disposals, six tackles and three rebound 50s.
“I thought he was one of the key drivers in the third quarter and was one of the reasons we got ourselves back in the game…his outside run was really strong,” Kornberg said.
Continuing his strong bottom-age season, defender Corey Watts was named the Dragons’ best.
Kornberg said Watts was often “lumped with the raw end of the deal” as the last line of defence but he took it in his stride.
“I thought he was super with his intercept marking, spoiling and direction … I thought he led our backline group really well.”
In more positive news for the Sandringham Dragons, captain Bailey Smith and defender Ben King were named vice-captains for Vic Metro ahead of this year’s national championships.
The Sandringham Dragons will now face the Eastern Ranges on June 30 in a delayed Round 9 match.