MDFL - Tatyoon has slipped to fourth on the Mininera and District Football League ladder following its third consecutive loss.
The eighth-placed SM&W Rovers caused the upset of the season so far by downing its more fancied opponents in wet and windy conditions at the Tayoon Recreational Reserve on Saturday.
The Bulldogs trailed at every break, but refused to yield and turned a 10-point three quarter time deficit into an eight point buffer by the final siren to claim the come from behind victory 11.7 (73) to 10.5 (65).
Coach Joe Carmody said the Bulldogs were able to run the match out the stronger of the two sides, after the Hawks lost a rotation when Tim McDougall left the ground injured.
"We knew it was going to be hard conditions and coming up against a pretty good team we just had to stick at it," he said.
"I think it got out to four goals at one stage during the third, but we managed to just keep in the contest and got over the line in the end.
"We knew if we were able to rotate heavily during the third quarter that we'd have enough legs to run over the top, we just had to be within striking distance.
"We also tidied up our inside-50s a bit better, we were pretty haphazard in the way we were going forward in the second quarter, but in the second half we hit more targets and put it in better areas."
Tim Cleeland, in his first game back from a serious pectoral injury, was one of SM&W Rovers' hardest workers, while young-gun Ross Thompson was lively through the midfield.
The final quarter saw the Bulldogs lock the ball inside their forward half for the majority of the term and at about the 15-minute mark they closed the margin to less than a goal.
Five minutes later the visitors took the lead and with only minutes remaining managed another major to put the result beyond doubt.
Carmody said Tyler Mason, who was named best afield, continues to show improvement each week.
"He is only a light wingman, but he is really quick and his skills are fantastic," he said.
"He is starting to realise the harder he works, the better player he will be and this time next year he could be our best player the way he is going."
Tristian Fay was also acknowledged for his shutdown role on Tatyoon captain Sean McDougall, while for the Hawks' Brodie Mines was an important strong body and John Butler led the way with five goals.
The win keeps the Bulldogs' slim finals' hopes alive, but Carmody said his team would continue to focus on smaller goals as the season progresses.
"We are the sort of side that really has to work hard each week, including this game coming up against Great Western that is going to be tough," he said.
"If we don't come with the right attitude and work rate it can blow up in our face and I think if we look too far ahead we lose sight of what's important and what is important right now is competing this week and backing up our effort."
For the first time this season Wickliffe/Lake Bolac has moved into the top five after smashing the Ararat Eagles by 113 points.
The Magpies' sixth win of the year sees them move ahead of Lismore/Derrinallum and Penshurst with a superior percentage.
The Eagles did well to hang in during the opening quarter, with defender Aaron Jenkins and Shaun North finding plenty of the ball to see the home side trail by 14 points at the first change.
Bailey Veale, Jake Clark and coach Nic Willox put the match beyond doubt in the second term as Wickliffe/Lake Bolac skipped away to a 55-point halftime lead.
It was all one way traffic in the second half as the Pies piled on nine goals to the Eagles' one.
Will Slattery added four majors to his tally of 22 for the season, while Michael Otto returned to form with three goals.
Rounding out Ararat’s top performers were Nick Bulger, Ash Leggett, Luke Foster and Mark Coole.
Conditions made kicking goals hard to do in the first quarter of the Moyston/Willaura and Glenthompson/Dunkeld clash, which saw the Pumas slot 1.6 to hold a slender lead at the first break.
Josh Bywater and Luke Thomas combined well through the centre in the second term as the home team began to break away.
With Aidan Bell (four goals) and Aaron McKinnis (three) the two main focal points inside the Pumas’ forward-50, the ladder leaders found themselves in front by 39 points at halftime.
The Pumas increased the margin to 57 points in the third quarter, thanks largely to the work of Aaron Pianta, Jacob Hamilton and Lynden Brewis, while they continued to press in the final term to record an impressive 71-point victory.
Great Western got away to a good start against Hawkesdale/Macarthur to lead by a point at quarter time.
Rayne Salmon continued his solid form and found good support in Isaac Debono and Ryan Cullen, however the Southern Eagles began to hit their straps in the second quarter.
The visitors steam-rolled the Lions by booting 10 goals to one to finish the first half in a commanding position.
Tom Cairns in his first senior match for Great Western this season provided a good target around the ground, while Josh McCartney and Nathan Ringin did their best to get the team back in the match, but to no avail.
Hawkesdale/Macarthur proved too classy to take victory 18.18 (126) to 8.9 (57) and in the process move to second on the ladder.
Caramut is just behind the Southern Eagles on the ladder courtesy of an 11-point victory over Lismore/Derrinallum.
The match between the two finals’ contenders was a mighty battle, with the Swans gaining the upper hand in the third term to sneak home, despite being held goalless in the fourth quarter.
In the final match of the round Penshurst was pushed all the way by a determined Woorndoo/Mortlake side, before taking honours — 7.7 (49) to 5.8 (38).