DIMBOOLA’S finals hopes are hanging by a thread after the reigning premier recorded its sixth loss of the 2014 Wimmera Football League season on Sunday.
The Roos suffered their second defeat at the hands of finals contender Minyip-Murtoa this season, going down by 16 points at Murtoa Recreation Reserve.
It was a match that lived up to its AFL Victoria Country Worksafe Game of the Month billing.
The Burras started like a house on fire, kicking eight goals to four in the first quarter, before the Roos controlled the second half of the second term to close the gap to just four points at half-time.
Both sides had opportunities after the major break, but it was the hosts who made the most of theirs in the third term, holding a telling 16-point lead at the final change.
Lachie Exell got the ball rolling for Dimboola with the opening goal of the final term, but every time the Roos reduced the margin, the Burras found an answer.
The 16.12 (108) to 14.8 (92) win takes Minyip-Murtoa to third on the ladder, leaving sixth-placed Dimboola two games outside the top five.
Burras coach Scott Arnold said it was an important win for his side going into the back half of the season.
“Every game’s massive obviously,” he said.
“But we’ve got a strong percentage and we feel like we can get some momentum going from here and do some damage.”
Arnold said it was pleasing to see his side respond to the Dimboola challenge after half-time.
“We thought we were doing things well – we’d made some mistakes – but we just wanted to have that confidence and belief to keep going about it the way we wanted,” he said.
John Delahunty was a deserved best-on-ground award winner and found the ball at will all over the ground.
Equally important was the work of versatile ruckman Kieran Delahunty who floated down back and up forward, and experienced utilities Justin Garth and Gus Trethowan.
In the absence of key forward Clinton Midgley, Braydon Ison stepped up with four goals, while Darcy Cameron held in-form Roos forward Ash Clugston to just three majors.
Full-forward Lachie Exell was the standout for Dimboola and looked threatening whenever the ball went near him.
He finished with six goals and had a hand in a number of other Roos’ scoring opportunities.
Lachie Watts also impressed, while Tyler Blake, Hamish Exell and Shaun McDonald continued their form.
Dimboola coach Stuart Farr said his side had its chances to win despite its slow start.
“It’s frustrating when you see how well we can play, but it’s just not often enough at the minute,” he said.
“We wasted a few opportunities, but when you’re making up ground you don’t have that leeway.
"That last quarter a few blokes missed set shots from straight in front.
"You can’t give up five or six goals against any side, let alone Minyip-Murtoa, and win.”
Recent history would suggest the Roos would need to win at least eight or nine matches to finish in the top five.
Farr said his side had not given up hope of participating at the business end of the season.
“There’s hope and we’ll cling to that and I’m confident this might free up a few blokes,” he said.
“Everyone’s written us off, so hopefully we can win a few and get within striking distance for the end of the year.”
In order to do that the Roos will most likely have to win at least five of their remaining seven matches.
They face a tough task, with matches against top-two sides Warrack Eagles and Horsham in the next two rounds.
“If we can get a breakthrough win against one of the sides above us, hopefully things might snowball from there,” Farr said.