THE Mallee Eagles took it up to Kerang for a half at Riverside Park on Saturday in Central Murray Football League action but it was ultimately the Blues that flexed their muscle to record an impressive 53-point win.
The game opened in a typically frenetic pace, with Troy Thamm registering an early goal for the home side.
But the Eagles successfully locked the match down to prevent an early run-on from Kerang and after 10 minutes were able to finally register a reply to level the scores through Sean Bedggood.
After conceding nine last-quarter goals last week, the Blues appeared a bit flat early against the Eagles, who were creating plenty of opportunities but failing to fully capitalise.
Free kicks for push-outs against Josh Bray and Mark Walter saw the Eagles with full-blooded chances to score but were not rewarded.
Two first-quarter goals to Simon Andrews - who finished the day with four goals and provided the visitors with a strong focal point up forward - had the Eagles in front at the first change.
Marty Kelly was proving valuable in the centre for the Eagles, while his Blues counterpart Kiel Robertson was also having an impact.
Luke Livingston played for the Blues and lined up at centre-half-back, putting in a solid performance alongside the likes Bray and Greg Dickson.
The Eagles soon increased their lead in the second term, with a goal putting the visitors 13 points up.
It was the Blues that responded, however, with Kobi Wilson coming into the game to level the scores.
While the locals went into the half-time break three points behind, the margin could have been greater but for some inaccuracy from the Mallee Eagles.
The home side managed the first two goals of the second half, including one to Livingston, and the Blues threatened to get on top early.
While an Andrews goal kept the Eagles in it, the home side was clearly starting to control the game around the ground as Wilson and Ryan Gillingham chipped in with majors.
Greater accuracy was arguably the key difference at the last change and the reason behind Kerang's 20-point lead.
That lead appeared to free up the Blues in the last term, too, with a six goal-to-one quarter underscoring the home side's dominance at Riverside Park.
The game will no doubt provide some food for thought for Blues coach Troy Coates, while the early competitiveness should be pleasing for Eagles boss Jamie Macri, who has a number of players to return in coming weeks for the visitors.
Next week sees the Blues travel to Cohuna to take on the league's only other undefeated side after three rounds in the best match of the year so far.
The Eagles host Lake Boga in a must-win game for both sides.