WANGARATTA has been shunted back to fourth place on the Ovens and Murray reserves ladder following a disappointing 31-point loss to Wodonga Raiders at Birallee Park on the weekend.
The Magpies got up by 32 points when the two teams met back in round one, but this time around Raiders had their measure.
The two combatants played contrasting brands of football.
While Wangaratta employed a wet weather mentality, reverting back to the basics of banging the ball forward at every opportunity, Raiders were far more comfortable moving the ball by hand and spotting up loose players.
The Magpies simply couldn’t break down the home team’s press, with Raiders running hard, switching the play and constantly releasing players into space and inflicting damage as a result.
Jessie Smith, Aaron Braden, Zac Guilfoyle and Cam Potter battled away to keep Wangaratta in the hunt, while Frazer Judd slotted three goals.
The loss sees the Magpies fall one spot on the ladder, with their finals chances set to be put to the test over the next month with matches against top five sides Albury, Yarrawonga and Lavington.
The Pigeons showed their might in the reserves clash at the WJ Findlay Oval, with big efforts in the first and last quarters leading them to a 41-point win over Wangaratta Rovers.
With Chris Knowles, Connor Crimmins, Michael Powell and Nick Henderson starring, the Hawks were able to match Yarrawonga over the second and third quarters.