Hopes for finals fade after Illawarra Lions loss to uni

Illawarra Lions’ fleeting finals hopes appear over after a  second-half drubbing and 52-point away loss to Macquarie University on Saturday.

 The Lions entered round 13 two wins behind fifth-placed Holroyd Parramatta but were outgunned by the Warriors after half-time in a 13.11 (89) to 6.1 (37) defeat.

  The Lions led by four points at quarter-time and  trailed by only  five at half-time but were put to the sword by Macquarie Uni in the second stanza with the Warriors posting nine goals to just two.

 Illawarra managed just three goals after quarter-time and had only seven scoring shots for the game.

  They were coming off a season-best win over top-four side UTS Bats but player-coach Dave Nolen could not hide his dissatisfaction with his side’s attitude in the second half.

‘‘At half-time I was enthusiastic about our chances and said to the boys, ‘Do we want to play finals, let’s go out and show we do’ – but we didn’t show much at all in the second half,’’ Nolen said.

 ‘‘It’s an attitude thing and a problem we’ve had a few times. Not enough guys put up their hand and leave it to someone else to do ... something that lifts the side.

‘‘Our finals hopes are pretty much over now, so it’s disappointing.’’

 Jake Hogarth and Mal Picken booted two goals each for Illawarra while full-back Sam Wilson held Macquarie Uni spearhead Tim Cameron to two goals.

  On-baller Peter Lloyd continued his fine season while Christos Panagakos impressed in defence.

This latest loss leaves the Lions in seventh and playing for pride over the final five rounds.

  Illawarra are away on Saturday  to fifth-placed Parramatta – the team they are chasing for a finals spot – before facing the top two sides, Balmain and Pennant Hills.

Meanwhile, the Wollongong Saints continued their march towards a Sydney women’s AFL top-two finish after thumping Penrith 5.7 (37) to 0.9 (9).

Saints set the tone with three goals to none in the opening term and conceded just a point to half-time.

Wayward kicking dashed any prospect of a Penrith rally.


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