There were plenty of celebrations and some relief as Melton South broke through for its first win of the Ballarat Football League season.
After a tough month that included two weeks off and two losses in excess of 20 goals, against Lake Wendouree on Saturday, the Panthers fired up.
After trailing at half-time, Melton South took control in the third quarter and extended its lead early in the last before running out of legs late.
That didn’t matter – the Panthers won 10.16 (76)-8.9 (57).
Panthers coach Heath Pritchard said some recalibration in the week leading up to the game had paid dividends.
“We wanted to stick the course and focus on our ball movement and be tougher for longer,” he said. “We were able to do that.”
Also pleasing for the Panthers was winning, despite some injury concerns.
They had just two players on the bench after half-time and had no fit players on the bench in the final quarter.
VFL-listed played Dylan Conway kicked six goals in his second game for the Panthers this season and was named best on ground.
Pritchard said the other standout was Dillon Sharp, who he said played his best game for the Panthers in the coach’s time at the club.
“All the young kids stood up as well,” he said. “We had five players under 18.
“Our defence was fantastic all day and everyone gelled and played their role.”
Broden Collins hurt his ankle, with the full extent of the injury not yet known. Brody Sullivan re-injured his hamstring, while Will Thornton-Gielen is another who finished on the bench.
Pritchard said they would be cautious with Sullivan, with him having issues with the same hamstring twice.
He said Conway also pulled up sore, but he expected him to play next week, whether it be with the Panthers or in the VFL.
The win could be the high that the Panthers needed to get their season going.
Pritchard said they had set the standard of what was expected every week.
“There’s a fair bit of belief in what we are doing,” he said. “There are the premier sides in the competition and then there’s sides that are around us on the ladder.
“We know we have to be competitive and get wins against the sides that are near us.”
One of the teams against which Melton will expect to be competitive is their opponent this week, Sebastopol.
In other games, Darley only just got over the line against Ballarat, while Melton lost to the Sunbury Lions.
MORE BFL NEWS