Bombers remain confident despite being sunk by Waves outfit
HERVEY Bay Bombers skipper Rohan Mortimer insists his team is still in good shape to go back-to-back this season despite blowing a four-goal lead in the final term to lose to Across The Waves by a point at Frank Coulthard Oval on Saturday.
In a game dubbed a grand final qualifier, Bombers forward Brent Dean, playing his first seniors match since the 2010 preliminary final, booted his eighth goal to level the scores, but the Eagles snatched victory at the death with a behind.
The scenes when the final siren sounded were as if the home side had just won a grand final, with Eagles players celebrating their 18.11 (119) to 19.4 (118) victory wildly as Bombers players stood in disbelief.
"It was a bit of a let-down ... a 10-minute lapse is what cost us," Mortimer said.
"The ball just seemed to bounce their way a few times and they ended up running over the top of us."
Accurate kicking in front of goal helped the reigning premiers draw level at the last change before the Bombers, sparked by a stirring performance from the goal-hungry Dean, stormed ahead with an amazing last quarter-burst.
But the Eagles hit back with their own remarkable surge to prevail in a pulsating finish to the encounter in which 14 goals were kicked in the final term.
The win means the Eagles are almost guaranteed the minor premiership, and a free pass to the grand final, unless they slip up against Brothers Bulldogs or Bay Power in their final two matches.
Mortimer believed the narrow loss would do the Bombers good in their quest for back-to-back flags.
"It's not panic stations yet," he said.
"We might not have a definite spot in the grand final, but it leaves us in a good position.
"With the grand final being played at ATW's home ground, we know we have to do more to win.
"I know we only lost by one point but at the same point we only let them into the game because of our mistakes.
"(The loss) has made the boys hungrier being that close to a win and not getting it could be a blessing in disguise."