The Ararat Rats fell just short of the Horsham Saints, losing by five points at Coughlin Park on Saturday.
The Rats started the match in strong form and match the Saints around the ground in the first quarter.
It was a low scoring term with both teams scoring two goals each, as the Saints took a three point lead into the first break.
The second term was much the same with both teams trying to gain the ascendancy on the scoreboard.
The Rats were able to keep the Saints goalless while slotting two majors to take the lead in the quarter and take a handy 10-point lead into half time.
The Saints came out after half time and dominated the third quarter with the Rats struggling to maintain their efforts after the long break.
The home team piled on goals regularly throughout the term and hit the lead with the Rats only able to score one goal for the quarter.
The Saints finished the third quarter with 6.3.33 to take a comfortable 23-point lead into the final break.
The Rats tried to reduce the lead and were successful early on but fell short at the final siren 8.5.53 to 8.10.58.
Rats coach Terry Keilar said he was happy with the team’s performance despite the result.
“A 10-minute burst in the third term where they kicked four goals in a row let them back into the game but we felt like we controlled most of the game,” he said.
“So it was a really good effort by the boys, especially early in the game.
“The Saints had the wind in the first term but we held them well, so the boys got some confidence from that.
“We wanted to use some self belief in the final term, we told them they had nothing to lose and take some risks and it nearly came off.”
Keilar said it was a good reward for the effort from the team. The loss leaves the Rats in seventh position.