An undermanned Deni Rams suffered their worst loss of the 2019 Murray League season on Saturday, going down to ladder leader Echuca United by 132 points.
The Eagles flew out of the blocks with 8.7 to no score in the first term and never looked back, winning every quarter to storm home to their 12th win of the season.
It was league leading goalkicker Josh Mellington who ripped through the Rams kicking 11 goals in a best on ground performance.
Jordan Florance, Nic Denahy, Rowan and Farran Priest and Charlie McLay also impressed for the Eagles throughout the triumph.
Adrian Pappin was Deni’s best, taking strong marks up forward before a stint onball, supported well by onballers Ricky Gittens and Nick Howe.
John Bowie and Clay Howe played well in the midfield, while Anthony Bull battled hard in defence for the Rams all day.
Final score, Echuca Utd 24.17 (161) to Deni Rams 4.5 (29).
Rams co-coach Sam Hall said while the heavy loss was not ideal, it wasn’t ‘‘totally disappointing’’.
‘‘A day like that is tough but our second and third quarters were actually pretty good,’’ he said.
‘‘We tackled well and took on the game with our run and while they outscored us in both of those quarters we did give away less scoring opportunities.
‘‘We were fairly disappointed with our first quarter and the last quarter we were just spent and the midfield pressure dropped off.
‘‘In some ways the result wasn’t unexpected. I think the game reflected just where we are at the moment in comparison to the top end of the ladder.’’
In their previous encounter with the Eagles, Deni pushed the now ladder leader to the limit in a two-point thriller.
But it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Rams, missing the likes of captain John Anstee, Brayden Hall, Todd Gallagher, Henry Johnstone, Matt MacDonald, Ash Morris, Chris O’Connor, Dylan East and Ryan Brunker, who all played in the round one clash against Echuca.
‘‘There’s no doubt we had a vastly different side compared to last time,’’ Hall said.
‘‘Despite the loss we still believe that we can make finals if we can start to get back to our best footy.
‘‘Hopefully we can have a few back in against Finley after this week’s bye.’’
The Rams will have a week off with the Murray League having a general bye.
Their next clash will see them travel down the Riverina Highway to face arch rivals Finley on Saturday, July 20.
The Rams reserves also had a tough day in Echuca, beaten by 88 points when facing the undefeated Eagles.
Being short on numbers Deni trailed all day, with the home side winning all four quarters in a one-sided affair.
Final score, Echuca Utd 15.14 (104) to Deni Rams 2.4 (16).
Better players for the Rams were Logan Ives, Joel Park, Jason Allitt, Hugh Landale, Brett Rose and Luke White.