While a sixth-placed regular-season finish for Natimuk United may not have been as high as the club had originally planned, the team should be proud that they were able to secure a finals berth for the fourth year running.
It came down to the wire between the Rams and the Swifts for that sixth spot, however, their four-point win over an inaccurate Baggies side in round ten ultimately put them ahead.
Looking back on the Rams season as a whole, their ladder position is the perfect representation of where they're at. The side's seven wins came against the six teams below them (they beat Kaniva-Leeor twice) and their five losses came against the five teams above them.
The Rams dominated most of the teams below them with an average winning margin of just over 40- points from their seven wins; however, from their five losses against the top five teams, they lost on average by 64 points. The closest they came to a top-five side was their 40-point loss to Kalkee in round nine.
This suggests that while the Rams are good enough to make finals, they'll need to do a bit of work if they are to do some real damage in future finals series.
Still, top-six is nothing to sneeze at and the Rams had a bevy of standout on-field performers get them there.
In front of goals, Nathan Koenig was lethal, slotting 45 goals from just 11 games to finish equal second in the competition charts. There was a 31-goal gap between Koenig and the Rams' second highest goalkicker in Nicholas Groves. Spreading the load may be something the side looks to address going into 2022.
Samuel Anson had a great year for the Rams, finishing in the best players seven times from eight games, including four best-on-ground performances for his side.
Young gun Dylan Bates also had a good year with three best-on-ground performances for his side, to go with a handy nine goals.
If the Rams can keep their core together and add a few new fresh faces over the off-season there's no reason as to why they couldn't start to challenge the top teams in 2022.
*The Wimmera Mail-Times contacted Natimuk-United's coach for the review but weren't able to receive comment by deadline.
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