The Ararat Rats lost its first match of the season to Southern Mallee Giants by 39 points on Saturday.
The visitors struggled early in the match and struggled to keep up with the Giants on the scoreboard from the outset with conditions making it difficult to score up one end.
The Rats went into half time trailing by 34 points with a goalless third term all but ending Ararat’s chances.
Ararat could have lost by more, had it not been for its efficiency in front of goal kicking 10.4.64 to 15.13.103.
Ben Free slotted four goals for the Rats with Daniel Mendes named best on ground.
Rats coach Shane Fisher said he was happy with his teams performance.
“I thought they were fairly hard at it. In the last quarter they didn’t drop the bundle. They responded to the three quarter time talk which was pleasing,” he said.
“I thought we did well in the clinches in the middle of the ground.
“We probably let ourselves down on the turnovers and that’s how the Giants hurt you on their home deck.
“Their ability to set up and run and carry.”
Fisher said there was a strong wind favouring one side of the oval which made it tough.
“The Giants won the toss and I think it was a pretty crucial game to win the toss. I reckon it was a six or seven goal breeze,” he said.
“But the Giants are really going to help the league. Obviously they’ll try and get some juniors to go along the journey with them but their senior ranks play a really good brand of footy.
“They link up well, tall across the board.
“They are going to take some stopping once they find their feet… maybe today was the day they started to do that.”
Ararat finished the round in third position.