UNDER strength, the South Burnett Saints showed they could still be contenders after they matched the University Cougars goal for goal on Saturday at Kingaroy's Lyle Vidler Oval.
With a number of experienced players out at the weekend, the Saints just fell short by 16 points.
The Cougars clinched the game 12.17.89 - 11.7.73 to mark the second consecutive loss the Saints' men had suffered.
Saints' coach Paul Pressnell was not put off by their effort however as his less experienced team showed they could hold their own against a team which played in the first division last year.
"We had some new guys who stepped in," Pressnell said.
"Games like this give us more experience."
Pressnell said the Saints were able to apply constant pressure on the Cougars but felt they dropped the ball in the third quarter which was where the visiting side capitalised.
"That third quarter, we let ourselves down a bit. We let them build a big lead," he said.
In the third quarter the Cougars scored five majors to the Saints' two.
The Saints had a solid 5.0.30 - 2.5.17 lead but slipped in the second quarter after the Cougars levelled with six majors apiece.
Cougars coach Tony Bullen said he also had a relatively inexperienced team on hand at the weekend after 11 players were missing.
"We still made mistakes but we gritted it out," Bullen said.
Bullen said the Cougars were able to score more scoring shots to secure the win.
As the Cougars prepare to take on undefeated table toppers Coolaroo Roos at the weekend, Bullen said they needed to work on their communication and clean up their ball handling.
Saints currently sit on fifth place of the Allied Pickfords Cup ladder with 16 points, along with Toowoomba Tigers and the Cougars.
The Saints will be put to the test again when they play second on the ladder Toowoomba South on Saturday at Lyle Vidler Oval from 2.50pm.
South Burnett trio makes rep squad
WITH the state junior Australian rules football titles just a matter of weeks away the Wide Bay under-12s were put through their paces in Kingaroy.
Nanango's Kyle Snow, 12, and Kingaroy's Fletcher Brown, 12, and Bailey Hesketh, 11, were picked for the representative team to play in Hervey Bay over June 9-12.
Kyle said the Wide Bay team was pushed hard at the weekend to iron out any issues in the final training session before the title.
"If we made a mistake we had to run the field," Kyle said.
"We were running the field heaps."
Kyle tried to make the Wide Bay Australian rules football team before but didn't make it in his first attempt.
This motivated him to try harder this year.
"I've been practising. I actually attacked the ball instead of standing back," he said.
Kyle has played Australian rules football since he was three.
Fletcher also found the training tough but had been conditioned as he played for the Dalby Swans U12 and U14 teams.
The U14 Swans are undefeated at the top of the ladder while the U12s sit in the middle of its ladder.
Fletcher said he had played for more than four years after being brought up with the sport.