In a WFNL upset, the Ararat Rats have brought the high-flying Saints back down to earth with a gritty, 13-point win in wintry conditions at Coughlin Park.
One of the WFNL's in-form sides coming into round 15, thanks to wins over Stawell, the Giants and Dimboola, the Saints looked rusty early as the Ararat Rats jumped out of the gates and surged to an early lead.
Rats coach Matt Walder said he was delighted with his team's performance.
"We're certainly proud of the way we ran today and the way we competed," Rats coach Matt Walder said.
"We won the crucial times of the game early on, and showed grit and determination to hold off the Saints at the end as well.
"It was a big step forward for the young team."
The Rats led by 12 points at the first break, 19 points at half time before the Saints rallied to win the third term.
However, the damage had been done as the Rats held on to win, 9.6 (60) to 7.5 (47) - holding the Saints goalless in the final term.
Ararat forward Nicholas Oliver was likely the difference as he bagged 5 majors in wet conditions, while Kade Bohner was resolute in defence for the Rats and Henry Shea toiled across the ground.
The Rats have now beaten the Saints twice this year, having been the underdog on both occasions.
"It's a funny one... Ararat has been the Saints' bogey team for a few years," Walder said.
At the end of the day, they've all been closely fought games.Matt Walder
"At the end of the day, they've all been closely fought games. We've had to fight to the death, because they came hard in those games."
Although the Rats won't be going deep into September, Walder believes the win holds them in great stead going into the final few games of the season.
"It's all about leaving a legacy in 2021 and finishing what we started. We're driven to compete in the last few games we've got and set up a good standing for next year," he said.
While the Saints momentum may have stalled during the July lockdown, the ladder-leading Burras had no such qualms, coming away from Stawell's Central Park with another four points.
Minyip-Murtoa kicked five goals to the Warriors' none in the second quarter, and it was the difference in the end, as the Burras ran out 10.12 (72) to 5.6 (36) winners.
Keiran Delahunty starred with four goals, while Timothy McIntyre was the Burras' best around the ground.
Cameron Kimber and Kurt Breuchert were the best of the Warriors.
Over at City Oval, the Southern Mallee Giants and the Horsham played out a gritty, dour affair, with the Giants the eventual winners, 6.10 (46) to 4.10 (34).
Both teams were unable to register a goal during the second half after rain set in.
Coleman Schache, Sam White and Rupert Sangster got the Giants over the line, while Jeremy Hartigan, Tyler Blake and Ben Lakin fought hard for the Demons.
Last but not least, Dimboola relished the return of community football, with a convincing 31-point victory over the Warrack Eagles.
However, the Roos didn't have it all their own way; the Eagles made them fight for each goal, trailing by just 14 points at the final change, before a five goal final quarter saw the Roos break free.
Thomas Cree and Matthew Rosier starred for Dimboola in the win, while Riley Marrow and Dane Stewart showed tenacity the Eagles.
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