Rockbank got off to a slow start and never fully recovered, as Woodend Hesket grabbed a crucial Riddell District Netball League A-grade win on Saturday.
While the two sides have had a close rivalry in recent times, the Hawks were far more clinical early as they dominated the scoring to set up an eight goal lead at quarter-time.
While the Rams challenged in the third term, the Hawks proved too strong as they fought out a 50-40 victory.
Rockbank coach Nathan Selvidge said while they felt like they matched up well with the Hawks, it just wasn’t their day.
“We had a really good third quarter, but just sort of lost motivation in the last and got outrun,” Selvidge said.
“We were missing a couple of players from our defence which didn’t help us, but I think we just ran out of puff as the game wore on.”
The game got off to the perfect start for Hawks fans, as Tara Burnip made full use of her height advantage to nail 10 shots in the first term to help them to a healthy early lead.
With Brittany Bowen controlling the centre of the court and opening up lots of avenues to attack, the Rams struggled to gain possession.
When they did, Isabelle Maguire was dangerous up front as she kept the hopes of a comeback alive for the hosts.
Things started to click for the Rams in the third quarter as they found some space and were able to attack with more freedom, with goal attack Rianne Vining scoring eight times to close the gap to just five points entering the final quarter.
But the Hawks were able to steady, with 14 goals in the final term enough to see them take the points.
The win has Woodend Hesket just a game and percentage adrift of the finals, while Rockbank has slipped to ninth on the table.
Selvidge said some tough games following the bye means their chances of finals are now probably done and the focus will shift to the future.
“If we’d won this we were still a chance, but we’ve now dropped three that we probably shouldn’t have lost in the past month,” he said.
“We had a good start to the season against some of the top sides, but we’ve dropped off in this middle period with some injuries that you can’t control.
“With the games we’ve got coming up it will be tough for us to play finals.
“We’ll continue to develop our team and get some structures in place that will help us moving forwards and into next season.
“I’m not too fussed about scorelines or getting blown out, so long as we’re doing what we’re training to do so next year we can get into the flow of it early.”