A PROMISING Ararat side took another step towards proving itself as a real contender this season when it overcame Minyip-Murtoa away from home on Saturday.
Scores were level at three-quarter-time before the Rats proved more effective going forward in the final quarter to complete the 14.7 (91) to 11.10 (76) win against the Burras.
The impressive result against the 2017 grand finalist follows on from a win against the 2017 preliminary finalist Warrack Ealges, and leaves the side on just one loss after six games.
Rats coach Shane Fisher said it was a good win, but his side was already looking ahead.
“We spoke about Horsham straight after the game,” he said.
“I told the boys to enjoy the win against Minyip-Murtoa on Saturday night but to focus on Horsham as soon as they woke up Sunday.”
The Rats were keen to show they were up to the challenge early.
The side threatened to turn the game into a massive boil-over by kicking six goals to one in the first quarter to establish a 31-point lead at the first break.
Fisher said he thought the way his side played at the start of the game caught the Burras on the back foot.
“It even surprised me a little bit,” he said.
“We trained within the dimensions of Murtoa’s ground during the week and I think that helped.”
The Burras found a way back into the game during the second quarter and capitalised on the Rats being a man down after Jake Williamson was sent off. By half-time the margin had narrowed to 17 points.
Further pressure by the home team meant the Rats only managed one third-quarter goal before scores were locked at 10.5 (65) apiece with a quarter to play.
Fisher threw Tom Mills into the ruck to start the final quarter as well as changing the way his side set up through the wings.
It resulted in his side establishing a lead early in the quarter. Minyip-Murtoa threatened again late in the contest through the ever dangerous Kieran Delahunty, but Mills moved into defence to limit his influence before the final siren sounded with the Rats 15 points in front.
“In that last quarter we linked up better as a team and used the footy well,” Fisher said.
Harry Ganley, Mills and Daniel Mendes were among Ararat’s best players. while Delahunty, Matt Coleman and Thomas Cooper worked hard for Minyip-Murtoa.
Lachlan Hamilton kicked five goals for the Rats while Mills kicked four. Delahunty kicked six at the other end.
“Kieran Delahunty has to be the best forward in the league,” Fisher said.
“I think Tom Mills can look at Kieran’s game and hopefully be at that level every week in a couple of seasons.”
Fisher praised Ganley for seamlessly fitting back into the side after a week off with a niggling knee injury.
“He is workman-like but is capable of doing five or six special things that can change a game,” he said.
“I certainly think he did that five or six times on Saturday.”