Make no mistake, North Ballarat is the real deal.
In one quarter of controlled chaos, the Roosters not only silenced many of their doubters, but propelled themselves to premiership favouritism.
This was the massive test Brendan McCartney's men needed; an opponent not only at the right end of the table but a tactical force that was going to demand the host's best.
They were pushed. They threatened to retreat. But, North Ballarat held on and established itself as this season's yardstick.
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So, what was so big about this win?
Melton came from seemingly nowhere midway through the third quarter to kick five unanswered goals and steal the lead for the first time in the match.
After dominating for so long, the Roosters had lost a 28-point lead.
There was no wind to blame or stiff umpiring decisions. Instead, the hosts simply rolled over.
Two quick goals on the stroke of three-quarter time papered over the cracks, and salvaged the lead, but alarm bells were ringing in the Roosters' camp.
Coach Brendan McCartney, usually measured and taciturn in his quarter-time addresses, could sense it too.
The Roosters' leader started softly, praising the little wins and lulling his charges into a sense of security before delivering a forceful, albeit deserved, serve.
The former Western Bulldogs didn't ask but demanded those he looked steely in the eye "play for the club".
"If you play for the Roosters, you put your head over the ball. You don't play soft."
His words were heated but influential.
North Ballarat started the last quarter a side possessed.
Where 50/50 contests were previously left to chance, a sea of Roosters jumpers would flood the ball with little regard for their own safety.
Melton's midfield couldn't get two steps in without being dragged back by a tackle.
Not only had North Ballarat returned from the depths mid-game, but it found another level.
Two early goals were a due reward before Jye Lockett snuck an effort in that could be a turning point in the season.
After watching his set-shot slide inside the post, Lockett turned and acknowledged the crowd before he was swarmed by teammates.
WATCH THE GOAL BELOW.
This was a side so close to its scary best.
The 22nd-minute goal also delivered a psychological blow to the Bloods.
How does a side that fought so hard to get back in the game respond when its advantage evaporates so rapidly?
Melton looked a side defeated.
So much so that no Bloods player batted an eye when they nabbed a late consolation goal.
It may just be one quarter, but footy is a game built on history and reputations.
The Bloods came back to execute their brand of football flawlessly, but still, it wasn't good enough.
From now on, North Ballarat knows it has the edge over not just Melton but all its fellow premiership contenders.
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