Horsham District football interleague leaders will venture back to the whiteboard next year after efforts to continue climbing up AFL Victoria Community Championship rankings stalled in Ballarat.
Horsham District slipped to 29th on the statewide league table of 32, falling 60 points short of a determined and slick Ellinbank and District.
Ellinbank hit Horsham hard in the opening term, establishing a five-goal lead by quarter time and maintaining control of the contest for the rest of the game.
Horsham coach Nick Pekin said Ellinbank made the most of its opportunities in front of goal and was simply too good on the day.
“They didn’t put a foot wrong. In the end they were too silky for us with their skills and decision-making,” he said.
“They smacked us out of middle and we were chasing tails from the first quarter.”
Pekin said Horsham players could hold their heads high despite the disappointment. “It was a good experience for everyone. Only three on the list had played interleague before and they can only learn and benefit from the experience,” he said.
“They have now had a taste for this type of footy and hopefully they keep striving for it. I would encourage them to continue to put up their hands.
“We had some good players. Angus Martin played well and Nathan Koenig did particularly well across half forward. Ben Taylor and Cam Bruce also had solid games. And Jacob Cox from Jeparit-rainbow – just shy of his 17th birthday – played for the league on a wing. He was quite impressive and held his own.”
For Ellinbank, Tom Wyatt kicked four goals and ruckman Matt Gray, who had previously played Vic Country with Pekin, also starred.
Pekin said he hoped most of the interleague group, which included Gareth Hose, Guy Smith and Tim Inkster as bench coaches, stuck together for next year.
UNDER PRESSURE: Kalkee’s Simon Hobbs gets a clearing handball out of heavy traffic while representing Horsham District league in Ballarat. Picture: BRETT POLANSKE