Finley have dropped to a season low in the Murray League after losing their third game in a row on Saturday.
Despite leading throughout the game, the Cats allowed home side Rumbalara to kick away in the last quarter going down by 22 points in the round eight clash.
The loss saw Finley slide down the ladder from fourth spot to seventh and at risk of falling out of the top eight as early as next week.
The stage was set for a battle where both teams needed a win to keep in touch with the top division, with both sides fresh from the interleague bye.
After Rumba scored the first major of the day, Shaun Kable responded quickly with a banana kick off the pack.
Rumba’s game plan was obvious from the early stages with plenty of run and skill, captialising on turnovers to hit the scoreboard.
Finley’s Scott Sherwen was creating a strong presence early and his first for the day came after a strong mark at the top of the square.
The Cats ended the first quarter seven points up but it was Rumba who kicked the first of the second term and the margin was reduced to one point.
Clean skills from McCarney ended with Luke Moore slotting his first for the day and the Cats were dominating play.
Rumba started to flood back and congest the Cats’ forward line and when the visitors missed a target when trying to switch play across half back the home side made the Cats pay on the scoreboard. A very clever dribble kick goal leading into the half time break from Rumba forward Tuifoa saw the margin back to four points.
It was Rumba again who started the third quarter with a goal after a free kick and 50 metre penalty against Nick Robertson in the marking contest.
Cuppens was in everything and linking play from the back half through run and carry ended with him kicking his first for the day.
Kable, McKenzie and Jewell all started to feature in forward moves and McDonald complemented their work with his third major.
Ruckman Lachy Hawkins then put another on the board for the Cats with a soccer style goal and the Cats looked like taking the game away from Rumba.
But the game turned on its head with costly turnovers and indecision from Finley letting Rumba in for easy scoring opportunities late in the quarter and the home side took an 11 point advantage into the last stanza.
Both Sherwen and McKenzie had opportunities to goal early in the last term through marks in the forward 50 but couldn’t capitalise, before Jewell pegged the margin back to one kick with a running goal out of the centre.
With time now against the visitors more risks needed to be taken and again turnovers were to prove costly and present Rumba with another two goals in quick succession.
Final score, Rumbalara 16.6 (102) to Finley 11.14 (80).
Coach Rob Daniel said it was a disappointing result for his side.
‘‘When you have the ball for about 60 per cent of the time, you need to capitalise but we just made too many mistakes and turnovers,’’ he said.
‘‘They hit their targets and we didn’t.’’
Despite the loss there were good signs for Finley with Luke Moore and Shaun Kable both returning from injury successfully.
Daniel also praised Levi Middleton for his first senior game of the season after having a shoulder reconstruction last year.
The Cats will need to find some of their strong early season form when they host ladder leaders Barooga this Saturday.
‘‘Barooga won’t be an easy task,’’ Daniel said.
‘‘You must put plenty of pressure on them otherwise they’ll make you pay.
‘‘Barooga run hard and are highly skilled so we’ll have to put the pressure on early.’’
Daniel expects the side to remain unchanged for this week’s game against Barooga.