The Murray Bushrangers were left to rue a poor second term in their clash with Dandenong Stingrays at Shepley Reserve in Dandenong on Saturday.
Following an even first quarter, Dandenong managed five goals to one with their strong midfield winning the majority of the clearances.
Perfect conditions saw an even third term with both teams playing attacking football.
Then Dandenong jumped to a 33-point lead at the 26-minute mark before Yarrawonga’s Bailey Frauendfelder goaled just on three-quarter-time to lift Murray’s spirits.
Goals to Matt Walker and Jy Lane within the first three minutes of the final term brought the margin back to 15 points.
The Bushrangers continued to attack, however, the Dandenong defence held firm and it wasn’t until a another Matt Walker goal at the 16-minute mark that the game was once again in the Bushies’ grasp.
With just four minutes left Dandenong capitalised on a rare inside 50 to goal and with the Bushies 14 points down after 24 minutes, the game looked over.
But the Bushies kept pushing forward and two quick goals to Barooga’s Daniel Johnston, including a spectacular mark, brought the margin back to two points.
Unfortunately it was too late and the Stingrays survived the last quarter surge to record their sixth win of the season.
Kyle Clarke was instrumental in the last quarter fightback while Alex Paech controlled the game defensively.
Benalla’s Mark Marriott and North Albury’s Doulton Langlands, were consistent throughout, with Hudson Garoni and Daniel Johnston kicking three goals each.
Angus Hicks was strong through the midfield while Ryan Bruce continued his consistent form playing on the wing.
The Murray Bushrangers return to the Wangaratta Showgrounds on Sunday against Eastern Rangers to finish off the first round of games.