The Bears came and conquered Tatura Park on Saturday, running out 27-point winners.
Brad Campbell’s side proved too strong for a spirited Bulldogs in a thrilling contest.
Luke Smith announced himself in the first half, kicking six goals before sealing the tie in the final term with his seventh goal, while spearhead James Wong was a little less accurate, kicking seven goals and four behinds.
Shepparton led by 41 points at half-time before an inspired second half, led by playing coach Jamason Daniels, saw the Bulldogs get within 12 points in the final term, but they eventually fell short.
Daniels’ troops suffered their biggest loss of the season and have now gone eight games without a win, leaving their finals aspirations all but gone, while the Bears slipped to third despite the win.
‘‘We rate Tatura pretty highly and they are just starting to get their full side together so to come away with four points is a fantastic result,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘We had a really good first half then backed away in the third a little, so to respond the way we did in the last and grind out a victory was good to see.’’
The outgoing coach singled out the performance of his two-pronged forward line and hopes it is the start of more great things to come.
‘‘They went really well, we got some good supply into the forward line and I thought they were very smart and clever with the way they went about it,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘They finished really well, now we know that they can cause problems together down there.’’
Rowan Hiscock played his 200th games for the Bears on Saturday.
Premier ruckman Ash Holland was ruled out with a corked thigh, leaving Sam Dunstan to do battle with the experienced Paul Kirby.
‘‘He was really important, the longer the game went on the better he got,’’ Campbell said.
‘‘He took some good grabs and worked around the ground really well.’’
Thirds player Spencer Small joined the illustrious first game, first kick, first goal club when he slotted truly in the second quarter, while Daniels’ side was left to rue a disappointing start.
‘‘I just think we really shot ourselves in the foot during that first half, we just were not up to it,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘I thought our endeavour was good in the first, but in the second we just did not take our chances with the breeze.’’
It seemed a different Bulldogs outfit in the second half with the hosts scrapping, fighting and willing themselves to every contest in order to get back into the match.
‘‘I thought they really dug deep in the second half and really showed some heart, (but) we started to play the football that we spoke about all week,’’ Daniels said.
Despite a horrible run of form, the Bulldogs are yet to rule out a finals berth, according to Daniels.
‘‘You never know what can happen in football,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘At the moment we just have to worry about getting a win on the board and then hopefully a couple of teams can lose eight in a row like we have.’’
Tatura 3.2, 6.3, 12.4, 15.6 (96)
Shepparton 7.5, 12.8, 14.11, 18.15 (123)
Adem Barolli’s best:
Tatura: Linc Wellington, Jamason Daniels, Matt Ryan, Tim Lanyon, Paul Kirby
Shepparton: Luke Smith, Liam Duguid, James Wong, Matt Shannon, Ben Davies, Nik Rokahr
Tatura: Matt Ryan 4, Jamason Daniels 3, Colby McDonald 3, James Sullivan 2, Rian McGough, Chris Ryan, Charlie Hill
Shepparton: Luke Smith 7, James Wong 7, Nik Rokahr, Luke Minogue, Matt Brett, Spencer Small