One quarter proved the difference for Deni Rovers in round 14 of the Picola League on Saturday, with Strathmerton posting a 44 point win over the Roos at Memorial Park.
The home side managed to stick with the Bulldogs until half time, where they trailed by two goals.
As has been the case recently though, the Rovers struggled to contain their opponent in the third term.
Strathmerton took full advantage with a seven-goal-to-three quarter. The visitors took a 45-point lead into the last break.
The final quarter was an even battle, but the damage was already done, the loss dropping the Roos to sixth spot on the ladder.
Dylan May was a standout for the Rovers, with defender James Kirby and onballer Mark Lamborn also performing well.
Roos forward Terry Lumbar did all he could to keep his side in the contest, kicking five goals, and onballers Andy May and Rhys McCulloch also had strong showings.
Matt Shannon and Adrian Crestani (three goals) were the Bulldogs’ best, while Tyron Hill (three), Brock Palmer, Luke Collyer and Isaac Bunge were also notable performers on the day.
Final score, Strathmerton 16.14 (110) to Deni Rovers 10.6 (66).
It was always going to be a tough day for the Roos, with key position player Tanner Robertson a late out due to work commitments.
Rovers coach Nick Braybon said his team responded well despite missing one of their stars.
‘‘John Allitt and the midfield stood up with Tanner out,’’ he said.
‘‘We had Alex Rourke help us out again this week and he gave us that extra rotation in the middle and held up well.
‘‘Terry did a fantastic job up forward but we needed some more goalkickers to pitch in.’’
The loss dealt a big blow to the Roos’ finals aspirations, falling one win behind fifth placed Berrigan.
Braybon said his side has plenty of work ahead of them if they want to qualify for the post season.
‘‘We showed that we could match it with Strathmerton early in the game but third quarters are starting to become a problem,’’ he said.
‘‘We scored early in the third term and it looked like things would run pretty smoothly until a five to 10 minute lapse where we conceded an unacceptable amount of goals.
‘‘Last week we lapsed in the third quarter against Mathoura but we were lucky that we already had a strong lead before that.
‘‘We consistently turned the ball over late in the third term and the Dogs made the most of their opportunities. That was the real difference on the day. We had enough chances but we just didn’t capitalise on them.’’
With the Roos now a game outside the top five, Braybon said his side will have to treat upcoming games against Berrigan and Tocumwal as elimination finals.
‘‘The games against Berrigan and Tocumwal are crucial for us,’’ he said.
‘‘Win both and we most likely play finals, lose to the Saints and we could be missing out on finals, and if we beat the Saints but lose to Tocumwal then we may be dependent on other results.
‘‘We have the talent to play finals and feature well in them, but we need a consistent performance over four quarters.’’
In the reserves, it was an inaccurate Strathmerton who held on to a seven-point victory over the Roos.
The Dogs led for the entirety of the match but just couldn’t put the Rovers away, kicking a woeful 2.5 to two straight in the third term, before holding on to the win in the last stanza.
Final score, Strathmerton 7.13 (55) to Deni Rovers 7.6 (48).
Club veteran Benji Hardman was the Roos’ best with defender Angus McCalman and ruckman Adam Bodey also strong performers.
Key forward Brock Ezard was a focal point for the home side booting five goals, and onballer Luke Hay and forward George Trewhitt (one goal) battled manfully to close out the best for the Roos.