Stawell’s finals aspirations were ended on Saturday, going down in a hard fought contest to Warrack Eagles.
The Warriors went into the match needing to win to keep any hopes of a finals berth alive, with Warrack Eagles sitting one game ahead in fifth spot.
The match started evenly, with Stawell holding a one-point lead at quarter-time before the home side regained the ascendancy by the main break, leading by one-goal.
Inaccuracy severely hurt Stawell in the third period, converting just one of six chances into goals while Warrack Eagles put both of its scoring opportunities through the big sticks to push the lead out to seven points.
Warrack Eagles surged home in the final term, booting three goals to one to claim a crucial four points with an 11.8 (74) to 7.9 (51) victory.
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“It was probably our worst game for the year to be honest, we just didn’t gel in our most important game of the season,” Stawell co-coach Jamie Solyom said.
“Bad skill errors and decision making cost us big time. I am not using this as an excuse either but the umpiring was disappointing, players from both sides were confused with a lot of the decisions.
“The interpretation of the holding the ball rule was just confusing.”
“Saying all of that Warrack played well and deserve to be in the top five.”
Shannon Argall was named as Warrack Eagles’ best with three goals, while playing coach Ryan McKenzie also contributed with three majors. Solyom said Nick Peters was also crucial for the home team.
“Our boys can learn a lot from the way he played the game,” he said.
Lucky Ika kicked two goals in just his second senior game for Stawell while Sam Williams and Jackson Dark were the best players for the Warriors.
“It was the best game I have seen Sam play for the club. And with Jackson, I firmly believe he is the best centre half back in the comp. He just provides the same high level of footy every week.”
...players from both sides were confused with a lot of the decisionsJamie Solyom
Warrack Eagles is now two games clear in the top five ahead of Minyip-Murtoa and seventh-placed Stawell.
The Burras and Warriors are still mathematical possibilities to play finals but will need to win both of their games (they meet each other next weekend) and require Warrack Eagles to drop both of theirs. Warrack Eagles plays winless Dimboola in the final round.
“Any game you lose should be disappointing but this one hurt in particular given what was on the line,” Solyom said.
“We have a few sore boys out there and the draw is starting to take its toll. Late in the season coming up against teams coming off a bye every week really does us no favours.”