CENTRAL Murray continued its dominance against Sunraysia this century with a 41-point hiding in their AFL Victoria Community Championships clash at Swan Hill on Saturday.
The 14.12 (96) to 8.7 (55) win was the third consecutive senior interleague success for the Two Blues against their northern rivals, stretching back to 2001.
A delighted Central Murray coach Travis Matheson pinpointed his players appetite for contested football as a pivotal factor behind the success.
"It's really good to get the win, but equally as impressive was the way the boys went about it today," Matheson told The Guardian.
"They played a great brand of footy. They came out and played the aggressive game I asked of them.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was.
"They put up a really good fight, it was a good standard game."
Central Murray had the upper hand for most of the contest, but inaccuracy kept Sunraysia in the game.
The hosts held sway by 15 points at the main break despite enjoying the lion-share of possession, territory and scoring shots.
A four-goal to two third quarter ensured Central Murray had a commanding 28-point lead at the final change.
Backed by strong home support, the Two Blues powered home as Woorinen's Glenn Boyd bagged five goals and Kerang's Brad Pay won the best-on-ground medal after racking up plenty of ball across the half-back flank. Pay was glad he could continue his great start to season 2018 on the interleague stage.
"It was nice to get a few kicks on one of the days everyone dreams about getting a kick with the best players from the league," Pay said.
"But it was a real team effort and I just did my bit.
"It's really good (to win). Last year, we were probably ranked where we shouldn't have been.
"The last few years we've made it compulsory and all of the boys are starting to put their hand up to play and we have a couple of wins on the trot now, so it's good to start climbing that ladder again."
Central Murray sat in 18th in the AFL Victoria Community Championships heading into Saturday's clash, and with 17th ranked Wimmera losing their battle with Bellarine, a potential change in fixture for 2019, to be announced today, could occur.
Pay was also pleased to see how well the team functioned on the day.
"The boys' pressure was just absolutely awesome and the willingness to share the ball with one another," he said.
"We took a stat for handball receives and it was about 30 a quarter, so something really impressive considering we've only had a couple of training sessions together."
Matheson also pointed to the efforts of Boyd, who proved a constant menace to the Sunraysia defence, Nyah Nyah West United's Dylan Smillie in the ruck and Swan Hill's Xavier Moloney's efforts in defence.
But it was not all good news for Central Murray, as injury hit the hosts.
Woorinen's Josh Stone (concussion) and Cohuna's Clayton Holmes (cut above eye) were casualties in the first half, while Kerang's Jarryd Pertzel came off late in the third term after a knock to the knee.
Holmes was rushed to hospital, where is received stitches and as for the other two players, Matheson, believes both will be fine for next week when round six action resumes in the CMFNL.
"Stone got a head knock, so he is a little bit groggy and he'll be right, but we just brought him off as a precaution, that's what you have to do with anything above the shoulders," Matheson said.
"Pertzel got a corkie to his leg and he's a Kerang boy, so I'm hoping he'll get up for next week because I need him."
Pertzel is still unsure of the severity of the injury, but will be looking to have scans during the week.
"It was just a contest in the centre of the ground there. I tried to tackle a bloke and he steam trained through me. I got a knee-on-knee knock and he came out on top," Pertzel said.
"I'm just hoping it's a corkie, but it could be a medial - so I'll get a scan as soon as I can and just hope for the best."
Woorinen's Matt Iannucci, Kerang's Ryan Gillingham and Mallee Eagles ace Corey Viani also impressed for Central Murray.
CENTRAL MURRAY 3.5-23 5.7-37 9.9-63 14.12-96
SUNRAYSIA 1.1-7 3.4-22 5.5-35 8.7-55
GOAL KICKERS, Central Murray: Glenn Boyd 5, Jarryd Pertzel 2, Harrison Keely 2, Corey Kelly 2, Corey Viani, Matt Iannucci, Steven Boyall
Sunraysia: Ethan Gill 2, Josh Gregg, Andrew Richardson, Tom Morrish, Brad Hards, Nick Mee, Josh Dean
Best, Central Murray: Brad Pay, Matt Iannucci, Ryan Gillingham, Corey Viani, Xavier Moloney, Glenn Boyd
Sunraysia: Ethan Gill, Andrew Richardson, Colby Hards, Nick Mee, Brad Hards, Josh Gregg