NATIMUK United has earned a hard-fought victory in tough conditions on its home ground, limiting Rupanyup to just two goals for the entire match on Saturday.
With a strong breeze, the Rams started off the better side, and took full advantage of the wind in the first quarter.
Jaydon Stiles was electric in the first quarter, helping the Rams pile on six goals to zero to start the game.
Rupanyup could not find a way back into the contest, even with the wind in their favour at times throughout the game. Injuries hurt the Panthers, while Natimuk United finished the game without a bench as muddy conditions took its toll on some players.
Natimuk United was tougher at the ball throughout the day, and playing coach Sam Anson said he was happy with his side’s effort.
“We are very happy. I was confident our game plan was going to work,” he said. “We wanted to kick long and give our forwards an opportunity. That breeze was a six goal breeze, and that’s what we did in the first quarter. It was handy to win the toss.
“The weather today was shocking and in these conditions whoever starts the best has a huge advantage. We used it a lot better and kept them goalless when they had the breeze, that’s what saved us.”
The Rams had a number of players unable to finish the game, including Stiles and Anson.
“The guys were in and under and in these conditions you expect a few minor injuries. I don’t think there are any injuries that are too serious,” he said.
Rupanyup playing coach Jack Musgrove missed the game due to an ankle injury, and said his side’s effort was disappointing.
“Conditions didn’t play too much of a part in it to be honest – we pride ourselves on being a contested side, and Natimuk United killed us in that department today, so credit to them,” he said.
“We lost a couple of players early, which didn’t help. At the end of the day they wanted the footy a lot more than us, so we have to look at that and go from there.”