A sluggish start coupled with inaccuracy saw the Murray Bushrangers succumb to their second defeat of the season in a tough clash with the Oakleigh Chargers at Norm Minns Oval in Wangaratta.
Cobram Barooga duo Daniel Johnston and Sam Beasley were once again standouts in the game, being named among the best on-ground.
Johnston was also recently named as one of five Bushies players to make the Allies squad for the 2017 National Championships, which will play Vic Country in round one in Sydney on June 11.
Oakleigh was able to get the jump as the Bushrangers struggled to match the Chargers’ intensity and fell 17 points behind at the first break.
The second term saw the Chargers extend their lead to 28 points; while the Bushrangers were flat and lacked spark in the second versus third clash.
After some half-time changes and a pep talk from coach Leon Higgins, the Bushies dominated the third term, but inaccuracy hurt on the scoreboard as they kicked just two goals from 10 attempts.
The defenders and midfield restricted Oakleigh to five attempts and, although the three-quarter-time margin was 28 points, a definite shift in momentum had taken place.
The final term saw the Bushrangers again have control of the play for long periods of momentum; but it was a case of leaving their run to late as they fell short by 15 points, kicking four goals to two in the final term.
Zane Barzen was the best forward alongside Daniel Johnston, kicking two goals apiece.
The breakout player of the season, Sam Beasley, once again showed he is a valuable member of the team with excellent defensive efforts and a willingness to back his ability with run and carry.
After a tough five-week block of games, the Murray Bushrangers head into the Development Weekend with a break before their round nine encounter against Greater Western Victorian Rebels at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on Sunday, June 4 at 2pm.