WANGARATTA was largely outplayed for the first three quarters against Lavington on Saturday, however, at the final change it only found themselves trailing by 22 points.
An upset win might have been a possibility but for the fact that star rebounding defender Matt Grossman had been sent from the field just before the three quarter time siren.
Grossman was yellow-carded by umpire Ben Greer for using abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language against Lavington officials.
Until then, Grossman had been Wangaratta’s standout player, however, his absence was a blow to the Magpies, who were unable to stick with the Panthers in the final quarter.
With the aid of an extra player, Lavington slammed on six goals to two in the final quarter, running out winners 13.19 (97) to 7.6 (48).
Wangaratta coach Mark Knobel said the Magpies missed Grossman in the final quarter, however, he added his side was lucky to be so close at three quarter time.