WATCH VIDEOS BELOW - Sunbury's Alik Magin and round 7 wrap-up
NORTH BALLARAT CITY V EAST POINT
North Ballarat City picked itself up off the floor to shock Ballarat Football League reigning premier East Point at Mars Stadium on Sunday.
With just one win, the injury-riddled North Ballarat defied the odds in defeating the Kangaroos by 50 points - 12.11 (83) to 3.15 (33).
While it breathed new life into City's season, a second consecutive loss for East Point has it searching for answers.
The usually potent East Point could not buy goal after having a slight edge in the opening quarter, while North Ballarat gave notice with a five-goal second term and kept chipping away.
If there was any doubt that 29 points might be enough at the last change, three goals to North Ballarat in five minutes to launch the last term put pay to that as youngster Izaac Johnson shone in attack against his former club.
For North Ballarat coach Shane Skontra, it was the younger players who really provided the boost for his side.
"We were pretty intent on being switched on for four quarters of footy, and today our confidence grew as we went more into the game.
"It's a reflection of our younger guys, who gritted their teeth and sort of said to themselves that this is my team and I'm part of it, and we really backed them to back their own abilities, so I thought our young guys were outstanding today."
A dejected Jake Bridges conceded North was clearly the better side.
"They played well, no doubt about it, and it just sometimes doesn't go our way, and that's footy.
"Our scoreboard pressure hurt us and we were probably playing against a side which was playing for their season.
"Having said that, just because you don't win a game, doesn't mean that there's things that you're not doing well. The boys didn't drop their heads, they kept playing.
"It's just that things didn't go our way and North played a good brand of footy," Bridges said.
City not only denied East Point a win, it also blocked its path back to the top of the ladder.
Redan remains at the helm despite dropping its first game of the season against Melton at Melton on Saturday.
These outcomes along with wins by Sunbury over Lake Wendouree, Bacchus Marsh against Darley and Sebastopol over Melton South have tightened up the competition.
Just two games separate to the top seven, while North Ballarat City is only one win outside the top six in eighth position.
Redan, East Point, Darley, Melton, Bacchus Marsh and Sebastopol make up the top six, with Sunbury outside on percentage.
Lake Wendouree's disappointing run has seen it drop to ninth, although it is still to have a bye and the free premiership points that go with it.
North Ballarat City 0.2, 5.7, 8.9, 12.11 (83)
East Point 1.6, 2.7, 3.10, 3.15 (33)
GOALS - North Ballarat City: Izaac Johnson 4, Harry Loader 2, Simon Mc Cartin 2, Dylan Graham 1, Daniel Jones 1, Sam Willian 1, Mitchell Gilbert 1. East Point: Jacob Brown 2, Jordan Johnston 1
BEST - North Ballarat City: Daniel Jones, Simon Mc Cartin, Sam Bromley-Lynch, Ryan Luke, Harry Loader, Izaac Johnson. East Point: Billy Jones, Jordan Johnston, Jacob Brown, Ryan Walsh, Matthew Johnston, Clay Bilney
LADDER AFTER SEVEN ROUNDS
REDAN 6 5 1 0 1 0 595 471 126.33 24
EAST POINT 7 5 2 0 0 0 749 394 190.10 20
DARLEY 7 5 2 0 0 0 580 441 131.51 20
MELTON 6 4 2 0 1 0 467 388 120.36 20
BACCHUS MARSH 6 3 3 0 1 0 503 405 124.20 16
SEBASTOPOL 6 3 3 0 1 0 418 360 116.11 16
Sunbury 7 4 3 0 0 0 633 587 107.84 16
North Ballarat City 6 2 4 0 1 0 378 406 93.10 12
Lake Wendouree 7 2 4 1 0 0 452 617 73.26 10
Melton South 6 1 5 0 1 0 256 703 36.42 8
Ballarat 6 0 5 1 1 0 393 652 60.28 6
MELTON V REDAN
Melton sent a strong message to the rest of the BFL in dispensing of previously unbeaten Redan at MacPherson Park on Saturday.
Stung by a loss to Sunbury a week earlier, Melton turned it on early to set up a 41-point victory - 15.12 (102) to 9.7 (61).
Melton had control of the game from the start, kicking all three goals of the first term to lead by 20 points.
The Bloods did not stop there. They kicked another four in the second term to set up a commanding six-goal lead at the halfway point, with Mark Orr impressing in the ruck to allow prime mover Ben Archard to explore a new role on a wing.
While Redan was able to develop some run and get some continuity into its game in the third term, Melton was able to answer every challenge.
Braeden Kight and Ryan Davis, each playing their 100th senior game for the Bloods, were among the multiple goalkickers as Melton stabilised to hold a 33-point going in to the final term.
Orr and fleet-footed BFL representrative Billy Crofts were standout performers for Melton.
Redan's midfield still had an influence, led by the ever-reliable Liam Hoy and Lachie George, with Keenan Waterbury and Patrick Britt also impressing.
Melton coach Aaron Tymms said it had been crucial for his side to respond after the loss to Sunbury.
"We were well and truly down on our contested footy and our tackling last week...pretty much down in all numbers.
"This week we sent those numbers through the roof so that was really pleasing," he said.
Redan coach Jarrett Giampaolo said the intensity the Lions took to the contest, or lack of it, was a concern.
"We were disappointed in our intensity, especially in the first half.
"I spoke to the boys before the game about bringing 100 per cent effort and intensity, and if you don't continue to bring that level of effort against these good sides, you get beaten. That's what has happened today," he said.
Melton 3.4, 7.9, 10.10, 15.12 (102)
Redan 0.2, 2.4, 5.7, 9.7 (61)
GOALS - Melton: L. Carter 2, L. Ericson 2, R. Davis 2, B. Kight 2, R. Walker, M. Denham, D. Stevens, B. Archard, C. Griffiths, R. Carter, M. Orr. Redan: L. McLean 2, L. George 2, B. Thomson 2, A. Harvey, B. Smyth, D. Chester
BEST - Melton: B. Crofts, M. Orr, S. Campbell, L. Carter, R. Walker, L. Ericson. Redan: L. Hoy, K. Waterbury, L. George, D. Mathews, M. Coon, J. Baker
LAKE WENDOUREE V SUNBURY
Lake Wendouree finished all over Lake Wendouree late at CE Brown Reserve on Saturday to end two years without a win on a Ballarat ground.
Coach Travis Hodgson said it had been 721 days since the Lions had last tasted success in Ballarat.
"It gets a big monkey off our back."
Lakers led by 15 points at half-time, but managed only three more goals for the rest of the day while Sunbury added 11.
Final scores: Sunbury 16.16 (112) to Lake Wendouree 10.16 (76)
Lake Wendouree finished the day with just two players on interchange after losing Joel O'Connell to concussion in the third term and Josh Bibby to suspected concussion in the last quarter.
Sunbury's Mick Edwards was reported and yellow carded (sent from the ground for 15 minutes) after making head high contact with O'Connell.
It was while down to 17 men that Sunbury took control.
Lake Wendouree coach Dale Power said allowing Sunbury to get a grip on the game and open up a break in this period was one of the most disappointing aspects of the day.
While another defeat certainly hurt, it was not all doom and gloom for Power.
He said Lakers had certainly lifted and played much better than a week earlier when stunned by Melton South.
"We were more competitive. There was more effort and more energy."
Lake Wendouree was all over Sunbury after Nathan Pring kicked back-to-back goals to give Lakers a 26-point lead going into time-on in the second quarter.
Power said three goals to Sunbury in red time had hurt and provided danger signs.
He said once again it had been disappointing to see Lakers get their hands on the football, only to fail to capitalise in attack
"We'd win the ball, but didn't finish it off."
Hodgson praised his players for the way they had responded after a disappointing first half.
He said he was ecstatic with the effort and the win.
However, he had word of warning for the Lions.
Hodgson said a similar performance, with anything less than an optimum output over four quarters would not be good enough against the top teams - in particular reigning premier in their next outing, also in Ballarat.
Sunbury 2.4, 5.6, 12.10, 16.16 (112)
Lake Wendouree 2.3, 7.9, 8.12, 10.16 (76)
GOALS - Sunbury: Dylan Landt 4, Andrew Duhau 3, Lachlan Bramble 2, Leigh Brennan 2, Luke Goater 2, Harry Power 1, Michael Edwards 1, Trent Luke Stead 1. Lake Wendouree: Nathan Pring 3, Mitchell Phillips 2, Ashley Simpson 2, Bailey Edwards 1, Caleb Hepworth 1, Jacob Coxall 1
BEST - Sunbury: Lachlan Bramble, Mitchell Conn, Jayden Eales, Alik Magin, Nathan Wood, Harry Power. Lake Wendouree: Tom McKechnie, Ashley Simpson, Jack Elkington, Jacob Coxall, Ben Taylor, Jacob Lohmann
BACCHUS MARSH V DARLEY
Bacchus Marsh continued its rebound from a poor start to the season with a big-time 23-point win over Darley at Maddingley Park on Saturday.
After losing their first three outings, the Cobras have strung three victories together - all at home - to be right in the finals mix.
For Darley, it was its second loss and ended the grip it had had on the derbies since 2017.
It was not all good news for Bacchus Marsh though.
Key forward Aaron Willitts has been offered a two-week suspension after being reported for striking in the first quarter.
The Cobras are considering taking the case to the tribunal.
For Bacchus Marsh coach Peter Davey, it was as much relief as anything to square the ledger with Darley for the season after losing the match-up earlier in the year.
"We weren't at our best, but we did enough."
Jacob Chisari was instrumental in the win in a modified role.
Davey chose to rest the onballer close to goal in the absence of small forward Billy Griffiths and he rewarded the Cobras with four goals.
Davey saved his biggest praised for the day for an emotionally charged Quade Butt.
He said Butt's father had died earlier in the week and the youngster had been inspirational in playing his best game for the Cobras.
Jake Edwards was again a bright light up forward for Darley, which led by two points at half-time.
He kicked four majors to give him 13 in the past three weeks.
Bacchus Marsh added four goals in the third quarter to edge away to a 13-point lead and this proved to be a match-winning break.
Bacchus Marsh 1.1, 4.6, 8.9, 10.14 (74)
Darley Football Club 4.2, 5.2, 7.2, 8.3 (51)
GOALS - Bacchus Marsh: J. Chisari 4, H. King 2, J. Owen 2, A. Willitts, Q. Butt. Darley: J. Edwards 4, M. Hanson 2, J. Ancrum, C. Young
BEST - Bacchus Marsh: J. Owen, Q. Butt, J. Chisari, B. Easton, R. Stuhldreier, T. Hughes. Darley: B. Spiteri, K. Forde, D. Leonard, J. Edwards, T. Angwin, H. Inglis
SEBASTOPOL V MELTON SOUTH
Sebastopol had a win it needed to have in careering away from Melton South by 89 points.
The Burra kept the Panthers goalless in the first half to establish its authority.
Sebastopol was too potent up forward, where Michael Powell kicked five goals and James Keeble, Tom Petersen and Toby Thoolen had an aerial dominance.
While the end result was emphatic, Sebastopol took a while to convert its authority over an injury-depleted Melton South to the scoreboard.
The Panthers restricted the home side to two goals the opening 20 minutes, but never looked like getting majors itself as the Burra set up a road block across half back.
Daniel Leggett was instrumental in holding up Sebastopol all day despite giving away height and strength more often than not.
Although the game was effectively over at half-time with the Burra leading by 57 points, Melton South coach Heath Pritchard was encouraged by the way his players stuck to task in the second half.
He said Sebastopol was clearly superior at stoppages and with ball use in the first two terms, resulting in the Panthers straying away from the way they wanted to play.
"It was the way we went about it."
Pritchard said Melton South had managed to turn its game around and it had only been in the closing minutes that Sebastopol had really opened up.
Sebastopol 4.2, 9.4, 10.8, 17.12 (114)
Melton South 0.1, 0.1, 1.5, 3.7 (25)
GOALS - Sebastopol: Michael Powell 5, James Keeble 2, Luke Kiel 2, Tobias Thoolen 2, Lachlan Cassidy 1, Bradley Weightman 1, Ryan Noether 1, Geoffrey Lovett 1, Tom Petersen 1, Marshall Cain 1. Melton South: Paul Bower 2, Sean Humphries 1
BEST - Sebastopol: Daniel Widgery, Marshall Cain, Tony Lockyer, Geoffrey Lovett, Michael Powell. Melton South: Daniel Leggett, Paul Bower, Billy Sullivan, Jacob Thornton-Gielen