WESTERN Jets coach Steven Kretiuk says his defensive unit got it all wrong in Saturday's 32-point loss to Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup at Burbank Oval.
The Jets have devoted stacks of time to defensive positioning in one-on-one contests only for it to unravel in one of the season's most important games.
The Stingrays forwards were given too much freedom to lead into areas where they felt most comfortable and were at their most dangerous, due to the Jets' laziness without the ball.
Kretiuk was frustrated when describing to the Weekly what he called simply a "concentration" issue.
"We went through it comprehensively on the whiteboard. It's all about protecting those dangerous areas.
"A lot of our defenders got led to the footy. Blokes were just not concentrating."
June was the most productive month of the season for the Jets.
They went into the Stingrays clash on a three-game unbeaten run and had a chance to escape the month without a blemish and with a top-eight position in their hands. The loss saw them drop back outside the eight.
Kretiuk was concerned more about his players neglecting the basics, rather than the grander scheme.
"We're not worried about finals. We're just trying to get continuity in our game.
"We want a group of guys adhering to the little things we need to do to get better. At the moment, they're not doing the basics right."
The Jets made a positive start, controlling the opening term to lead by eight points at the first change.
Then skill and execution errors crept in, compounding their flakiness in defence, leaving the Stingrays a clear run to the premiership points during the last three terms.
The Jets mounted a late comeback only for it to be snuffed out when they conceded two goals after getting to within seven points in the last quarter.
Anthony Piva showed how dangerous he can be in front of the big sticks with four goals. The mid-sized forward/midfielder has finally got a free run without injury and is making the most of his opportunities.
Josh Bench has become a dangerous inside-outside midfielder for the Jets, willing not only to get his hands dirty on the inside, but backing himself to be damaging out of the contest.
The Jets will need to recapture their form to have any chance against the Murray Bushrangers on Saturday.
Go to hobsonsbayweekly.com.au for our special photo galleries from the TAC Cup and the NAB under-18 national championships.
Western Jets 6.12 (48) lt Dandenong Stingrays 11.14 (80) Western Jets: Goals: A Piva 4, M Aneet, S White. Best: A Piva, J Bench, A Brown, J Walker, D Iaccarino, S White.