MORE mental application equals more wins. That is how Waverley Blues coach Scott Hunter believes his side's fortunes shape in the Eastern Football League division 2 season.
The Blues lost their opening round clash with an impressive Mooroolbark by 25 points at Heights Reserve on Saturday.
After trailing in the first term the Blues stormed into the lead at half-time after forcing plenty of turnovers from the attack-minded Mustangs.
But from the opening minutes of the second half the Mustangs reasserted themselves, making numerous ventures inside their attacking 50-metre arc, but could only take a 22-point lead despite enough chances to build a winning lead.
In the final term the Mustangs showed they had more left in the tank kicking goals including two sealers from Kire Talevski (four goals) and speedy recruit Mark Martin.
Blues forward Thomas Harley kicked six goals while Greg Hindson, Hamish Leahy and Tom Allen were also in their best.
Hunter said his side had shown it could match it with a finals aspirant like Mooroolbark but they had faded away after half-time. "How long we apply ourselves mentally will determine how many wins we get," Hunter said. "In that second quarter we showed that when we pressure and apply ourselves we can match it with anyone and create lots of attacking opportunities. But they lifted and we didn't go with them."
Hunter said senior player Matt Harrison would come back into the Blues side this round but it would be down to his current side to lift its performance.
"One positive we can take from this is that we have tested ourselves against a side who expect to make finals and only lost by four goals away from home.
"You couldn't say we gave our absolute best performance so we know we can make a lot of improvement from here."
■ Mulgrave returned to division 2 with a nine-point loss to Rowville on Saturday.
The Hawks led at each change but had to withstand a seven-goal final term from the Lions to win 14.17 (101) to 14.8 (92).
Lions assistant coach and boom recruit Craig Skicko led the way with three goals and was among their best along with Ben Andonov, Tim Knowles and Alan Cleven.
The Lions visit Donvale this Saturday.