Geelong Football League held off a fast-finishing Ballarat to record a commendable seven-point win at the Eastern Oval on Saturday.
The GFL set up the victory with a seven-goal to one first half.
Geelong clearly started the better, thanks largely to the work of key forwards Tom Kelly and Brody Finn, who combined for three goals.
The visitors handled the wintry conditions much better.
Callen Wade repelled what rare opportunities Ballarat had, as Scott Halls also joined Finn and Kelly as goalkickers for Geelong.
The second term also belonged to Geelong as the conditions became more difficult to handle, with Wade having a positive influence off a half back flank.
Liam Mullen was the clear standout for Ballarat with help from Ben Schiltz and Tim Hill, who showed the form that has elevated him to the Sunbury seniors this year.
Ballarat had to wait until just before half-time to register its first goal.
The third quarter was played out with minimal scoreboard pressure, with Ballarat managing to kick the only goal for the term.
Ballarat showed greater endeavour as the quarter wore on and appeared to be fiercer at the contest,
The last quarter belonged to Ballarat, with goals to Sam Bromeley-Lynch, Daniel Walker, Matthew Denham and Nathan Wood.
Ballarat held Geelong goalless in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
Geelong coach Brendan Forssman was happy with the side’s first half.
“I thought our first half was terrific and the boys were really hard at the footy early on, so that helped us get an advantage.
“We had a focus to really pressure the ball carrier and Ballarat really had no time and space to use the footy.
“We probably tired a bit in the second half and Ballarat to their credit really picked their game up,” he said.
Ballarat coach Tim Beacham said he was impressed with how his players fought the game out.
“I was very proud of the boys to have fought the game out really well.
“They started strongly and we knew that if we kept persisting and doing the hard unrewarded running we would break them sooner or later.
“To keep a very good side goalless in the final quarter was an outstanding contribution,” he said.
Geelong 7.9 (51)
Ballarat 6.8 (44)
BALLARAT also lowered its colours to Bellarine in an under-18.5 match at Geelong on Saturday.
Bellarine 19.20 (134) d Ballarat 4.2 (26)