YOU have to respect the honesty of Echuca.
A big loss at the hands of Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley League macth at Victoria Park on Saturday could be seen in many ways.
According to co-coach Simon Maddox, the loss is a ‘‘reality check.’’
Echuca had a chance.
They could have proved that they were for real.
A threat in the finals.
A win over the Shepparton Bears would have set the Murray Bombers up for an incredibly tough month with a confidence boost.
Instead, the side went down by near 10 goals.
And it was far from pretty.
Tim Allan returned to the side and kicked three goals in the opening quarter.
But that was the last time for the day that the Murray Bombers were in striking distance.
A five-point deficit at the first break was 26 by the half, and 50 at the final change.
But what is most concerning is a two behind third quarter.
The conversation about Echuca being ‘‘patchy’’ throughout this year has had merit.
And it did again yesterday.
The Murray Bombers had two strong quarters — the first and fourth — but struggled badly in the middle two.
By their own admission, their play was scratchy, and they over possessed the ball throughout the match.
It cannot continue.
The Murray Bombers have an opportunity in the next month to lock down a finals spot.
They cannot afford to be playing this kind of football if that is going to happen.
‘‘We have shown this year what we can do, but haven’t really done it for a full game,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘Even in our big wins, we haven’t been our best.
‘‘Full credit to to Shepp, they are a great side, they play really good football, and I think they came up probably up ten per cent on where they have been so far this season.
‘‘Unfortunately, I think we were down probably 10 per cent on where we have been in the last few weeks, and that shows on the scoreboard.’’
Maddox openly admits he needs to see improvement.
‘‘We only really look at next week, but as you mentioned we have some big games coming up, only one of them being against a side who is higher on the ladder than us.
‘‘If we can perform at our best in the meantime, it will bode well for us for the rest of the year.’’