The Bendigo Pioneers remain unbeaten in the NAB League after a hard-fought win over Geelong at the QEO on Sunday.
It wasn't as clinical a performance as the previous two victories, but the 9.10 (64) to 7.8 (50) win showed the team has more than one string to its bow.
It was the first time since 2003 that the Pioneers have won three games in a row.
"We had to win ugly, which was good for the boys,'' Pioneers' assistant coach Chris Guinane said.
"In round one we controlled the game against the Bushies and in round two we had to fight a little bit against Gippsland.
"Today against Geelong they really made us work hard for it.
"It was terrific that the boys responded well and they adjusted to the different needs of the game.
"We ground it out which was really positive. We know we can put sides away we're on top, but when the heat is on we can grind it out and get the footy back on our terms."
The Falcons were right in the game until a Pioneers surge at the start of the final quarter gave the home side a match-winning buffer.
"Our fitness has been a feature of the last two rounds,'' Guinane said.
"We know our boys will run the game out stronger than most of the country teams. We're confident we've put the work in pre-season.
"(In the final quarter) we wanted to make sure our shape on the outside, in particular was really sound, so when we won the footy on the inside we were able to distribute, hit targets and put some scoreboard pressure on (Geelong).
"We were probably a bit defensive at the start of the game, but once we started to win the footy and attack we looked dangerous."
One of the key moves for the Pioneers was the switch of Cobi Maxted from defence to inside forward 50. The key position player kicked a couple of crucial goals.
"Cobi started back and he's been an anchor for us in defence,'' Guinane said.
"He very rarely loses a one-on-one contest, he's trong at ground level, he's strong in the air and he has a deadly right foot,'' Guinane said.
"He was awesome for us when we were under pressure in the first half and when we needed a little bit of spark up front he was able to present well and take a couple of strong marks. He's hard to defend because of how hard he works."
Bendigo 9.10 (64) d Geelong 7.8 (50)
Goals - C. Maxted 2, C. Hamilton 2, J. Hickman, A. Depasquale, C. Smith, S. Conforti, H. Gallagher
Best - S. Conforti, J. Hickman, C. Hamilton, C. Maxted, J. Evans, A. Hare
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: