Burras have last laugh over Rats

Wingman Brendon Lovell was named Ararat's during the loss to Minyip/Murtoa.

Wingman Brendon Lovell was named Ararat's during the loss to Minyip/Murtoa.

MINYIP/MURTOA'S 58-point victory over Ararat has pushed the Rats to fifth position on the Wimmera Football League ladder.

The Burras performed a 77-point turnaround following their round four loss to the Rats, downing the undermanned visitors 17.9 (111) to 7.11 (53).

After going into the match without its two main forwards, Beau Cosson and Liam Cavanagh (VicCountry selection), Ararat's day went from bad to worse when it lost skipper Alan Batchelor to illness just prior to the opening bounce.

Joint-coach Andrew Louder said Batchelor's absence put the Rats on the back foot straight away.

Despite that setback the side was still able to match it with Minyip/Murtoa in the opening quarter, but Ararat's failure to convert on the scoreboard 0.6 to 3.2 ultimately proved costly.

"The first quarter was really good, I thought our work rate wasn't flash but it was still pretty solid," Louder said.

"We should have kicked goals, but we missed them and we can't afford that. We missed at least two set shots and we've got to learn to do better within that 30 metres and closer range.

"If we'd kicked two or three goals, especially before they'd scored, it would have put a bit of pressure on them, but by kicking points and then they go down and score goals they get in front and we are the ones feeling the pinch."

The match was either team's for the taking in the second quarter and it was the Burras that started the better of the two, kicking their fourth goal of the day in the opening minute.

Brendon Lovell battled hard at ground level for the Rats, while in defence Brady Miller put his body on the line on numerous occasions, but the home side continued to find ways to score.

The run of Burras' onballers Justin Garth and Kade Petering had Ararat rattled, while midway through the term forward Mick Fratin left the field after suffering a heavy knock to his ribs, compounding the Rats' injury woes.

Class midfielder Dan Mendes finally opened Ararat's account at the 15-minute mark, but the quarter belonged to Minyip/Murtoa as it piled on seven goals to lead by 54 points by the main break.

"Okay we lost a tall player when Mick went down, but I don't think that made the difference," Louder said.

"I just don't think our forwards worked hard enough. The delivery might not have been all that good going in, but I don't think the forwards' work rate was good enough."

Things didn't improve for the Rats as the second half got underway, with the Burras continuing to score freely.

Despite the best efforts of Mendes, Will Bell and Aaron Searle through the centre things threatened to get ugly as the margin ballooned to 72 points by three quarter time.

"What wasn't working for us was a few players lacking some hardness at the ball and we didn't work hard enough," Louder said.

"That wasn't the whole team because we always have a group that do the hard things week-in, week-out and we just need more to do that.

"I reckon you have Baywatch (Miller), Jakey Williamson, Mendes, Zach (Louder) I don't know after that."

Three goals in the first three minutes of the fourth term saw Minyip/Murtoa skip to a 90-point buffer before the Rats finally swung into gear to kick the final five majors, including two from Jacob Bates, to save some face.

Louder said he was at least happy with the way the team finished off.

“The frustrating thing is though, if we had have produced that in the second quarter then we would have still been in the game to halftime,” he said.

“Did our work rate lift in the last quarter or did their work rate drop off and allow us back in the game? That’s the question I guess.

“I did think we were a little bit more physical in the last quarter than we had been.”

Ararat remains two games clear in the top five ahead of reigning premier Dimboola, which continues to produce mixed form.

Despite back-to-back losses Louder hasn’t given up hope of a top three finish, but said the Rats must produce a round 12 win to keep that goal alive.

“If we can’t beat Horsham next week then it is gone,” he said.

“Do I think we can beat the Demons? Yes I do if we come to play with our best side.

“We can’t just rely on two or three of our better players to go out there and do it for us though, we need 21 blokes all playing the same type of football and all having a crack.

“The next two weeks are really going to determine our finals’ campaign.”

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