Warrack Eagles tightened their grip on third spot with a big win against Stawell at home on Saturday.
The Eagles now sit three games clear of the Warriors on the Wimmera Football League ladder and look likely to feature in a qualifying final.
The Warriors made their intentions known in the first quarter, kicking five goals and playing the game on their terms.
The Eagles managed a couple of their own, but trailed by 18 points at the first break. The second quarter played out in much the same fashion, with the Eagles able to close the margin only slightly.
However, a dramatic turnaround in the third quarter was the catalyst for setting up an eventual win.
The Eagles booted four goals and kept Stawell to a single major to open up a seven-point lead by the final break.
The home side continued to dominate in the final quarter to run the game out and close down Stawell’s options, with the final margin 35 points in the Eagles’ favour.
Warrack Eagles president Adrian Bibby said the visitors played well early.
“They jumped out the blocks, and it took us the best part of all the first half to get back into the game,” he said.
“It was a really important game for us and them.
“It was pleasing the boys knuckled down and managed to get the win.
“We were kicking against the breeze in the last quarter too.”
“There are a few games this year that we haven't finished off that well, so it was good to see that happened this week.”
Mr Bibby said coach Ryan McKenzie’s leadership was pivotal.
“He led by example and was telling the boys at half-time to back themselves in and take the game on,” he said.
Warriors coach Tom Eckel was pleased with his team’s fast start.
“We played pretty good footy, and we were anticipating they would come out strong,” he said.
“In the second half they just chipped away.
“They are a pretty good side.”
Eckel said the Warriors’ effort and pressure throughout the match were highlights, and the team stood up well given a raft of injuries.
“We had 11 out from our senior side and brought some guys up, so we had a lot of people playing in different positions,” he said.
“We are disappointed with the loss, but not overly disappointed overall with the performance.
“We are starting to play the type of footy we want, we’ve just got injuries hurting us.
“If we can continue what we're doing, moving the ball quick and getting a couple of wins leading into finals, that will hold us in good stead.”
Angus Barham and Jack Beaton were Stawell’s best.