IF YOU want an indication of the evenness of Matt O'Brien's Warrnambool side look no further than his forward line.
The Blues, led by key forwards Travis Graham (three goals) and Darren Ewing (two), kept second place in touching distance with a 11.15 (81) to 5.6 (36) victory over Hamilton Kangaroos.
O'Brien praised the efforts of his players in negating the tricky weather and opposition to record win number 13, which earned them bragging rights in the first Kokoda Day match inspired by the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion.
"The most pleasing thing was the consistency across four quarters and all 21 players," he said.
"Everyone had an opportunity to contribute to the win. It was tough conditions and we applied ourselves really well."
Bradley Bull was awarded the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion medal for his efforts during the game.
Ewing's two goals was his lowest in 11 matches but O'Brien said the work he and Graham do in the forward line means everyone can shine just as bright.
"Travis does a lot of stuff that's unnoticed whether it's getting his hands on footy or he is creating a bit of space down there with his movement," the second-year mentor said.
"They form a fantastic team. Darren only kicked two but he would have been instrumental in getting another five through handballs, feed offs, blocks and knock ons as well as lots of tackling.
"It was largely to do with his defensive pressure."
The Blues forward's - in Ewing, Graham, captain Sam Cowling, Jye Turland, Luke Cody and Jackson Bell - have combined for 192 goals this season.
O'Brien said his side would still needs to address its "cleanliness with the ball" ahead of matches against fifth-placed South Warrnambool and Portland.
Kangaroos coach Matt Dunn said his side would address its ball use after mistakes proved critical early in the match when his troops were in control of the contest.
"We have got to improve our use of footy as turnovers in first quarter really hurt us, both by hand and foot," he said.
"That's one area we need to sharpen up. Warrnambool's run off half back was important for them and our back six held out but Warrnambool using the ball through the middle was what set them up.
"(The weather had an impact) to a degree by foot making it hard to move it into breeze but our handball wasn't where it needed to be and they made us pay."
Dunn praised Harry Waters, Josh Pepper, Dylan Starkie and Sean Barnes for their consistent efforts throughout the entire match.
The Kangaroos are hopeful Jack Hickey, who suffered a head knock during the 45-point loss, would be right to play in the critical final two matches against North Warrnambool Eagles and Port Fairy.
Sitting in sixth with equal points as South Warrnambool, Dunn's men need to win at least one of their games against their higher-fancied opponents and hope the Roosters slip up against the Blues and Eagles.
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