It was a case of who could take their opportunities at Trevor Barker Oval.
Oakleigh made the most of their dominant stretch while Sandringham failed to convert when the game was in their control.
Ultimately it proved the difference in windy conditions with the Chargers running out 18-point winners in the second and final ‘futures round’, 8.10 (58) to 4.16 (40).
Heading into the main break with a nine-point buffer over their old rivals, Sandringham was on the receiving end of a six-goal-to-one third quarter masterclass which was too much of a hurdle to overcome.
But they did have their chances.
Nine scoring shots in the final term down-wind only resulted in a return of 1.8, and when the Chargers kicked a major against the flow of play with five minutes remaining it became clear it was their day.
But stand-in coach Jackson Kornberg was adamant missed opportunities in front of goal didn’t decide the game.
He said Oakleigh simply outplayed them across the entire contest.
“The positives out of the game was our ability to generate inside 50s,” he said.
“I think Oakleigh outplayed us in probably every phase of the game but to our boys' credit, we had plus-four-or-five forward 50 entries so they were still able to grind out launches forward and opportunities to score.
“Whilst we had 20 scores, we kicked four goals and 16 behinds so that was really the story of the game from our point of view. In saying that, Oakleigh’s ability to score through their terrific offence but then outstanding defence to slow us up and take away our strengths is something we need to really address.”
Josh Le Grice (19 disposals and a goal) and Hugo Ralphsmith (23 disposals and seven tackles) both played influential roles through half-back and midfield.
“Le Grice was one of the main contributors. As a defender he really played on his man strongly and then gave us good offensive drive,” Kornberg said.
“Hugo Ralphsmith probably showed a side to his game that he hasn’t shown this year - having 12 contested possessions from his 23 touches - so to gather them primarily from the contest is something he hasn’t shown. He had seven tackles along with that which is super. Now for him it’s just a matter of finding a balance between the outside and inside ball.”
Tyson Milne, who has thrived since making the shift to a running defender role, was also named in the best alongside Nick Burke, Joe Lloyd and Jackson Voss.
The loss signalled the end of the two-week futures round period, where clubs must give opportunities to bottom-age players to introduce them to the elite U18 level that is NAB League.
Kornberg and the entire coaching staff enjoyed the chance to blood the next wave of Dragons and see who could put their hand up at the selection table for years to come.
“The futures rounds have been terrific. We’ve been able to debut and blood eight new guys into the program and a lot of kids who have already played throughout the start of the year, it’s always fantastic to give them opportunities,” Kornberg said.
“And then to give guys who played as bottom-agers opportunities in the team – we’re always looking to improve and then we head into this next phase of the program where we’ll continue to play young kids and have more debutants and really show the depth of the program as we propel into the end of the year.”
Sandringham’s next challenge is on Saturday against the Western Jets in Williamstown.