Dimboola 122 d Ararat 96
ARARAT’s finals hopes now hinge on other results going its way after a 26-point loss to Dimboola at Alexandra Oval, Ararat, on Saturday.
The 18.14 (122) to 14.12 (96) result saw reigning premier Dimboola open up a four-point break between itself and the sixth-placed Rats.
It was the Rats’ fifth consecutive loss, with each of those coming against a current top five side.
The Rats must now beat Stawell and Nhill and hope Horsham Saints and Minyip-Murtoa can defeat the Roos for a third time each this season.
Rats coach David Hosking said his side would keep fighting but it would be a tough ask, especially depending on other matches.
“It wasn’t the result we were looking for,” he said.
“I think on the day they were just a bit better than us over four quarters.
“We won’t give up hope.
“But if I’m being really honest, it’s not the way I would have liked to have made the finals.”
One win for the Roos would almost lock them in because of the hefty percentage buffer they have over Ararat.
Dimboola coach Stuart Farr said his side had stepped up over the past month.
“There was a finals spot on the line and they were pretty desperate as well,” he said.
“The boys have been responding well to the pressure.”
The Rats were the better of the two sides early, opening up a 14-point advantage at quarter-time.
But Dimboola fought back to trail by two points at the major break.
The visitors kicked seven goals to three in the third term to gain a 20-point lead going into the final quarter.
Hosking said the Roos outplayed his side in the third term.
“The third quarter was fairly pivotal – we kicked 3.5 and they kicked 7.3,” he said.
But Hosking said the Rats bounced back to trail by two kicks in the final term before the Roos closed out the game.
“They were able to withstand that – it’s a measure of them as a footy team,” he said.
Roos Ash Clugston, five goals, and Lachie Exell, four, were again strong up forward, while Daniel Baker was named best.
Farr said Daniel Greig also played an important role across half-back.
For Ararat, Hosking said wingman Jack Ganley and midfielder-forwards Aaron Searle and Daniel Mendes were the Rats’ better performers.