COLAC Otway Rovers soccer coach Dave Latham says he is happy his team has met strong competition early in the season.
The Rovers came off second best against finals-bound teams for the third straight week, this time with a 1-3 loss to Barwon Blue on Sunday.
But Latham said the matches had “toughened” his young side and given it a fast insight to the competition’s standard.
“I don’t think three straight losses are going to be damaging because they’ve all been against top-four sides,” he said.
“We’ve put that into perspective and we know now we’ve got a large chunk of the season where we’re playing middle and bottom teams and it’s much more realistic for us to get a win.”
The Rovers surprised the opposition by opening the scoring for the second straight week, with pacey midfielder Jayden Tebble getting on the end of an impressive passage of play across Geelong’s Howard Glover Reserve at the 20-minute mark.
Rovers defenders delivered the ball across the wing before winger Liam Power crossed the ball into the box and Tebble sent it into the back of the net.
But Blue levelled the scores 10 minutes later, before opening up a 2-1 lead heading into half time.
“We made them work for their goals – up until their equaliser we had their measure,” Latham said.
“But after that their tails went up, they settled into the game and took a bit more control of it,” he said.
With leading scorer Denis Yardin unavailable, the Rovers found it difficult to keep up attacking pressure.
“I think experience was the major difference again, particularly up front,” Latham said.