Melton showed no mercy, restricting a decimated Ballarat to seven behinds for nearly three full quarters, while running riot in attack to record a 96-point win in a COVID-impacted top-of-the-table showdown.
The Swans were forced into seven changes, but even their best wouldn't have matched an excellent Bloods outfit who wrestled momentum early and never let it go.
With Bloods star Mark Orr a late withdrawal due to a calf complaint, Ryan Carter stood up, making the most of a strong tailwind to kick a bag in a 9.9 (63) to 0.7 (7) opening quarter.
Crucially, the visitors kept Ballarat goalless when it had the wind at its back in the second term to all but set up the win.
Jack Walker was again industrious around the contest for Melton, but it was the outside run-and-carry that proved the difference.
The match could bring further woes for Ballarat with deputising ruck Mitchell McGrath briefly leaving the field after a heavy collision.
The young Swan returned to the park but didn't leave the forward pocket.
Melton's win, coupled with North Ballarat's loss, sees it move two wins clear at the table.
Melton 18.16 (124) d Ballarat 3.11 (29)
Sebastopol has kept North Ballarat goalless for three quarters to record just its second win against the Roosters in the past decade.
Burra superstar Tony Lockyer was at his best in defence while James Keeble fired at the attacking end, booting four goals in the 35-point win.
Despite welcoming back captain Simon McCartin and BFNL team of the year members Riley Polkinghorne and Johnathan O'Brien, North Ballarat found itself overrun by the Burra's energy.
A scoreless Roosters' opening term was further compounded by a 0.7 second quarter.
The hosts restricted the Roosters to two behinds in the third term to enjoy a 51-point lead heading into the final push.
Goals to James Curran and Fletcher Loader quickly after the re-start gave North Ballarat some sense of belief but the Burra showed the spirit behind their recent resurgence to hold on and move 3-2 heading into the bye.
Life doesn't get easier for North Ballarat next weekend, with a trip down the highway for the first time of the season to play ladder-leaders Melton.
Sebastopol 8.13 (61) d North Ballarat 2.14 (26)
Bacchus Marsh has returned from City Oval victorious for a second year in a row, streaking away in the first half to set up an eight-point win against Redan.
Despite being held to 15 points in the first half, the Lions never lay down and with a 3.3 (21) to 1.4 (10) final quarter created nervous moments for the travelling side.
Defender Harrison King was named the visitors' best, while Daniel Burton was at his match-winning best in the ruck, kicking a goal to cap a dominant performance.
Redan star Lachie George made the most of his time in the forward line, kicking three goals, while Cooper Atchison was named the Lions' best.
Bacchus Marsh 9.11 (65) d Redan 8.9 (57)
Trailing at every break beforehand, Darley found its fight in the final term to celebrate a four-point win and keep Sunbury searching for a first win of the season.
Brett Bewley again proved the difference with a best-on-ground performance, stepping up in the match-swinging 4.3 (27) to 2.3 (15) final quarter.
Nick Rodda and Mace Cousins were the hosts' main scores, bagging two majors each, while six others joined them on the goalkickers' lists, including Essendon VFL-listed Dylan Landt who played his first game for the Devils.
Sunbury, despite sinking to another loss, showed its 0-4 record belies it potential and will take momentum into its round six match against Lake Wendouree at Clarke Oval.
Darley 10.12 (72) d Sunbury 9.14 (68)
East Point survived a brief scare to return from Melton South 39-point victors and take confidence into a tough run of fixtures.
The Panthers were two-points leaders at the first break but were left to rue inaccuracy in front of goal as the visitors began to draw away.
Down two goals at half-time, the Panthers' hopes of a fightback were dented by injuries.
The win keeps East Point in touch with the early pacesetters ahead of match against Ballarat next weekend. The Roos host Bacchus Marsh in the following round before a trip to Melton.
East Point 22.11 (143) d Melton South 15.14 (104)
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