In a must win home game for Victor to retain top spot and cement the double chance they were, instead, caught napping in the wet conditions last Saturday. Their last three wins against bottom sides proved poor preparation against a far more determined and tactically superior McLaren side, whose unrelenting pressure more than compensated for their decimated list.
Davey opened the scoring, but this was to be the only contribution from the key forward on a rare quiet day. Mutton soon drove in a long shot that was crumbed and converted by Ellison for the immediate reply before Basham got one back from 55m. It was goal for goal when Mutton snapped truly, before going off with a badly rolled ankle. Basham goaled again to regain the lead before some good fortune for McLaren saw a wayward Wakefield snap given a goal, despite protests from Roos defenders; then a 50m penalty gifted another to Lambert just before the siren to end the first term.
Another free in front of goal saw McLaren increase their lead early in the second and the warning signs for Victor were evident. The forward press from the visitors and quick transition over the back often had Victor caught out. When it was time to repel, Victor were forced to kick down the line from and McLaren won the majority of aerial contests, backed up with cleaner work at ground level. The Basham brothers combined well to release Connors into some rare space, slotting one on the run, but this was to be Victor's only major for the next hour before Wakefield got another for the visitors on the eve of the half.
The third term was a scrappy affair following more rain and McLaren added two more goals early through Wakefield and Wilson. Ellison and James provided run off half back and pressure and delivery from Vandeleur, Goodieson and Gomer helped set up opportunities forward. Weetra, Ross, Wade, Schubert and Williams were battling hard for Victor, but were forced to rush their disposals that were so often turned over. Alleway who was best on ground at McLaren could not relive this form when relieving McKay in the ruck and the Roos were down by 5 at the final change.
Carapetis drove a nail into Victor's coffin with an early goal before a Basham resurgence resulted in two for the home side. Vandeleur became the visitors ninth goal kicker as the load was shared to make up for for Muttons absence. McLaren's now wayward shots on goal now mattered little as they went from 9.3 to 11.10 in the last term, to Victor's lowly 7.5, five of which were kicked by S Basham. Victor will require a strong turn in form to claim upcoming games against the comp's two form sides.