Barooga battled bravely in its round 13 Murray Football League clash with Nathalia, but went down 89-81 to the Purples.
The Hawks led on its home ground at all three changes, but its 2018 grand final opponents, who are again pushing for the minor premiership, claimed the points with a 31-18 fourth quarter.
‘‘There were a lot of positives,’’ Barooga coach James Hazelman said.
‘‘We were in control for three quarters but it is frustrating that we weren’t able to close the match out.
‘‘Nathalia lifted their intensity in the middle and we just couldn’t match them — credit to the boys for holding on and preventing a blow out.’’
Barooga captain Lucas Olson kicked eight of the Hawks’ 13 goals, doubling his season best tally.
‘‘It’s absolutely fantastic to have someone up front like him,’’ Hazelman said.
‘‘He suits how we set up and he works hard.
‘‘He would have been disappointed to lose but his individual performance was great.’’
The Murray league has a bye this weekend with Barooga returning to action away against Mulwala.
The Hawks are eight points off the top eight and Hazelman felt four wins from the final five rounds should see his side sneak into the finals.
‘‘Eight wins probably gets you in,’’ he said.
‘‘We need to make sure we win the close ones.
‘‘We need to freshen up (this weekend), finals isn’t beyond us.’’