Melton South jumped back to sixth on the Ballarat Football League ladder on Saturday, proving far too strong for Sunbury at Sunbury after half-time.
The Panthers, playing without star forward Brendan Fevola, had control for most of the day as they recovered from a bad second quarter to walk away with a 13.7 (85)-7.9 (51) win.
It was a victory built on a dominant opening term in which the visitors kicked the only three goals of the quarter.
After a brief Sunbury comeback that trimmed the margin to four points at half-time, it was all the Panthers after the long break.
Without the Fevola focal point, Melton South had 10 different goalkickers for the match as it kicked nine goals to four in the second half.
Darley fell to a disappointing loss to 10th-placed North Ballarat City, but managed to hang on to third place on percentage.
The two sides traded blows early, but the visitors were able to gradually pull away from Darley after quarter-time to record a 11.13 (79)-8.11 (59) victory.
It was a dour struggle for much of the day, with just seven goals between the two sides up to half-time.
While the game opened up in the final term, City had established a buffer and was able to hit back every time Darley looked like mounting a challenge.
Melton was left to rue a wasteful start against Redan, kicking 0.7 in the opening term before eventually falling to a 13-point loss.
The Bloods were able to claw back into the contest in the second and third quarters to level the scores by half-time, but the toll showed in the final quarter as Redan kicked three goals to one to grab the points.
It was a costly loss for Melton, which slipped to eighth and face’s second-placed Bacchus Marsh this week.
Bacchus Marsh was clinical in its clash with Sebastopol, kicking seven first-quarter goals to set up an early lead on its way to a 22.19 (151)-11.7 (73) triumph. Alec Del Papa finished with six goals for the Cobras and Ryley Stuhldreier snared five in the thrashing.