BALLARAT Football League has been purely outclassed by Goulburn Valley in its interleague encounter in Shepparton on Saturday afternoon.
Heading into the AFL Victoria Country Championships match with a division one playoff on the line, Ballarat was able to match it with the home side early, but conceded a whopping 15 goals in the second half to go down 22.20 (152) to 13.9 (87).
The result means Ballarat slips to the third tier next year, while the GVFL has another crack at playing off to be crowned the best country football league in the state against Geelong Football League, which also won today.
Ballarat was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task at hand and found out immediately how tough the day would be, with their more fancied opponents dominating play from the outset.
However, the home side was unable to capitalise and Ballarat responded to actually kick the opening two goals of the match.
The remainder of the first quarter would prove a genuine arm wrestle, with Goulburn Valley taking a three-point lead into the first break.
The home side came out firing in the second term and appeared to be running away with the match, booting the first four goals of the quarter before the Ballarat midfield got right on top.
Led superbly by East Point ruckman Paul Kodorenko, who would eventually be named best on ground for Ballarat, the visitors responded with four consecutive goals of their own.
Ballarat big man Sam Conroy was proving a target down forward and had three goals to his name by half time, while Darley’s Steve Kennedy was the standout midfielder.
Heading into the main break down by just seven points, Ballarat could not afford another early quarter slip-up.
But that is exactly what happened, only this time there would be no recovery.
Goulburn Valley kicked nine goals to Ballarat’s three for the term, moving the ball with will and proving far more efficient going forward.
And if there was any hope of a last quarter comeback, despite trailing by 48 points at the final break, it was thwarted when Goulburn Valley’s Daniel Willis kicked a classy goal from the boundary, one of his six for the day.
As the sting went out of the game, Goulburn Valley kicked three of the remaining five goals of the match.
Speaking after the game, Ballarat coach Shane Skontra said the final scoreboard did not fully reflect the nature of the match, but admitted his side was truly outclassed.
“They used the footy a lot better than us in periods,” he said.
“That’s where you don’t question our effort, we just couldn’t quite finish off from forward of the centre and they set up from there.”
For Ballarat, Kodorenko, Conroy, Kennedy, Chris Giampaolo, Ryan Hobbs and Reece Miles were among the best.
Nathan Gilliland and captain Tim Looby kicked four goals for GFVL, while Will Martiniello was named best on ground.