COROWA-Rutherglen coach Bryce Campbell slammed the umpires after Saturday’s scrappy but crucial win against Wangaratta by 17 points at John Foord Oval.
The Roos made another giant step towards playing finals for the first time in five years with a hard-fought win over one of their main rivals for a spot in the five.
Saturday’s victory shot Corowa-Rutherglen three wins clear of the Pies and also maintained their buffer from Wangaratta Rovers in fourth spot.
Campbell, despite being thrilled with the win, left the ground with a sour taste in his mouth after several dubious calls that he said could have cost his side.
“I’m not sure the best way to put it, but I thought the some of the umpiring decisions, especially early on, cost us goals that weren’t there at all,” Campbell said.
“The decisions they paid against us hurt us more than it ever has this year.
“That’s probably the first time I’ve ever really spoken about the umpires, I’m not like that — that’s the frustrating thing.”
Wangaratta threatened to run over the top of the Roos in the second half with a spirited fightback that saw the Magpies close to within a goal in the early stages of the final term.
They kept coming, with star midfielders Matt Kelly and Jamie Allan being dominant forces when it counted.
Things looked even more shaky for the Roos when Gerard Ormond left them a man down after being sent from the ground for striking Magpie Matt Hedin.
The Roos stood firm and after several near misses from teammates, Rising Star nominee James Svarc sealed victory with his third goal of the game in the dying stages.
“I thought we had control for most of the first half and we looked the better side but we just haven’t learned how to put a side away yet,” Campbell said.
“It’s happened a lot this year.
“It’s disappointing that they came at us in the third quarter but the good thing is we stood up when we had to and we know how to win.”
Matt Grossman was a surprise opponent deep in defence for Roos star Luke Gestier but it proved a masterstroke.
Grossman kept Gestier goalless for the first time this season and finished the game as the best player on the ground.
Jarred Lane, Hayden Singe and Joe Hansen were standouts for the Roos, while reliable veterans Jamie Seymour and Kade Kuschert each delivered when they had to.
Wangaratta coach Mark Knobel was happy with how his troops responded following last week’s 192-point capitulation against Albury.
“For me it didn’t feel like we’d played a game of footy last week,” Knobel said.
“We just weren’t in it at all.
“We’ve had a terrible run of injuries.
“I think we had 20 players unavailable because of injury.
“With full respect to the guys in our side at the moment, 13 of those guys missing would walk straight back into our side.
“The ladder won’t reflect it, but our blokes have been courageous even though we’ve come up short.”
Joel Harris, Beau Wheeler, Mick Bordignon, Kayde Surrey, David Thayer and Pat Eefting still remain sidelined.