“It’s about making the most of the moments we have.”

Assistant coach Ben Hart’s words post-match aptly surmised the lessons of the Northern Bullants’ 56-point loss to the Box Hill Hawks on Saturday.

A 56-point loss can look large on paper, but anyone who watched Saturday’s match will know how much closer the contest was in general play.

The Bullants had plenty of moments where they threatened to creep back into the contest on the scoreboard, but their inability to finish off their hard work contrasted against the Hawks’ clinical approach in front of goal, particularly when the match was at its tightest.

The Ants had plenty to like about how they performed on Saturday, and Hart suggested as much afterwards.

“It was a really good fight by the boys. We were in the contest, especially early. I think we matched them in contested possession and around the ground and we were able to control the ball a little bit, which was fantastic.

“As the game wore on, we just couldn’t take advantage of our opportunities that we created. We created enough, but whether it was a poor decision or a skill error at the wrong time, we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.

“As the game wore on, I think they just got the better of us with their ability to score when they went forward. It is disappointing, because I think we are probably better than a 56-point loss, but the scoreboard says otherwise.

“We are creating those opportunities, so we have to keep going.”

The Bullants went into the quarter time break level on the scoreboard, and remained within range up until early in the final quarter when Tynan Smith’s third goal brought the side to within four goals.

Unfortunately, that’s where hopes were dashed as the Hawks went on a scoring spree, kicking the last five goals of the match to run out comfortable victors.

Captain Tom Wilson was again outstanding, collecting 26 disposals, while Glenn Strachan and Paul Ahern were both influential with 23 disposals apiece.

Ahern had 12 clearances, a point noted by Hart post-match, while Smith came in for some praise for his three goals and 16 disposals.

“We like to get the ball in long to Tynan as much as we can because he does have some ability in the air and on the ground,” Hart explained.

“He showed some really good signs, and potentially the wet weather didn’t really help him either.

“He’s someone to help build on in our forward line. He gives us a really good option.”

Ultimately, there are plenty of lessons for the Ants to take from Saturday’s result, in the knowledge the team did so much right but were unable to get the reward for their efforts on the scoreboard.

“We controlled the footy OK, especially in the first half. When the rain set in it was a bit of a slog, and both teams had their moments,” Hart continued.

“In the second half, Box Hill was able to take advantage of the opportunities they had better than we were, and clearly we were unable to hit the scoreboard.

“We missed a couple of really easy ones which might have kept the scoreboard pressure on, and could potentially have been in front at quarter time. We got within four goals late in the third quarter as well and it was set up for a charge home, but they were just a bit too good in the end.

“It’s simply a real focus on doing the basics. If we can tidy those things up, our system will be OK.

“It’s about making the most of those moments we have.”

The Bullants will get their next chance to seek their first win of the season when they take on Footscray at Preston City Oval next Saturday at 1.05pm.

Northern Bullants       2.4    4.5    7.6    8.8 (56)
Box Hill Hawks           2.4    9.4    12.6    17.10 (112)

Goals – Northern Bullants: Smith 3, Murphy 2, Hurley 2, Ahern

Disposals – Wilson 26, Strachan 23, Ahern 23, Velissaris 21, King 21

At Box Hill City Oval.