Benalla All Blacks’ winning streak was snapped at six when the side was out-muscled by the Glenrowan Tigers.
Saturday’s 84-point loss highlighted the side’s reliance on key injured players Al Jacka and Riley Moran.
The Panthers missed six players from their normal line up, but the first quarter ended with the home side eight points behind.
The Tigers scythed through midfield openings in the second quarter, dominating play. By the half-time siren the away side’s lead had ballooned to 46.
Panthers playing coach Harry Moran said the home side was in the game until they were battered in the second stanza.
‘‘We sustained some good pressure for the first quarter and a half, but their bigger bodies overawed ours and they got into good positions.
‘‘We couldn’t get our running game going. They’re not three-time premiers for nothing — they know how to win games. They dictated to us a fair bit from the second quarter onwards, and we couldn’t get on the ball,’’ he said.
Moran heaped praise on the ever-present Chris Lockhart and Nick Spencer, both of whom fought hard all day.
‘‘We know what we’ll get from those guys, we know they’re consistent and they know what they need to do and how to produce a good game.
‘‘Where we need improvement now is with those guys that fluctuate from having a good game to not having such a good one,’’ he said.
This weekend’s game sees the Panthers travel to Greta for the penultimate round of the normal season.
Moran said it is vital that the side bounces back after the ‘‘disappointing’’ loss.
‘‘Last time we played them they were undermanned and I think we might have beaten them by about 100 points, but we’re absolutely not expecting the same result this weekend.
‘‘It’s another must-win game for us — a lot of guys were really disappointed with the weekend’s game.’’