WFL - Stawell Westlift Warriors have had their second consecutive loss to start their Wimmera Football League season going down to Ararat.
In a game where expectations were high from both teams, Stawell ran out of legs in the second half.
Warriors had a dominant first quarter with captain Tom Eckel leading from the front and Jorah Margetson winning in the ruck.
Prior to the match Warriors coach Brad Cassidy thought the battle would be won in the midfield and that was certainly the case.
In the second term Warriors outplayed the Rats due to some hard gut running from the midfield.
They had more numbers both at the contest and outside the contest and were damaging by foot.
Jake Williamson was in good touch for the Rats early, but had little support until the second half.
Warriors went into half time with the confidence at an all time high.
To open the second half a fifty metre penalty against Ararat put Jamie Bach directly in front and about 20 metres out giving him the chance to really put Ararat away in front of a big home crowd.
He failed to convert and from there Ararat took control.
The missed opportunity from Bach as well as three shots on goal ending out of bounds proved costly as Ararat continually rebounded and scored.
In the third quarter Rats eradicated all but one point of the 24-point buffer Stawell had at half time leaving Warriors players coaching staff and supporters in disbelief.
Todd Cleary was one casualty from the third quarter suffering a heavy bump leaving him motionless on the ground. After being assisted from the field he was unable to take any further part in the game due to concussion.
The three quarter time message from Cassidy was short and to the point.
If they could win one more quarter of football they would win the game.
Stawell came out with little in the tank and the one less rotation certainly became obvious.
Stawell looked physically exhausted allowing Ararat to kick away.
"We need to work on our fitness over the next couple of weeks," Cassidy said.
"It needs to be at a level where we can maintain our intensity across four quarters of football."
Ararat kicked nine goals to Stawell's one in the last quarter pleasing the Ararat supporters that had hung around.
For what was a relatively good game of football for the first three quarters the margin blew out to 50 points.
"No doubt everyone is disappointed," Cassidy said.
"You cant afford to dwell on the result for too long, you have to take each week as it comes."
The final score was Warriors 11.5-75 going down to Ararat 18.13-121.
Best players for Stawell were Tom Eckel, Aidan Potter Jorah Margetson and Cam Kimber for their work through the midfield and Andrew Cameron and Todd Cleary up forward.