Nirranda had to dig deep to clinch victory on Saturday, according to coach Brayden Harkness.
The ladder-leading Blues were tested by a determined South Rovers outfit who found its way into a narrow lead in the third term before running away with the contest, 12.8 (80) to 5.6 (36).
Harkness said the group played strong footy in patches.
"We started well, moved the ball well, the conditions weren't great and the ground chopped up," he said.
"We got beaten around the contest in the second and third quarters, so full credit to Rovers, they came to play and played pretty direct.
"We were really challenged and they pushed us, they didn't make it easy for us, but the fightback we showed was pleasing albeit we probably only played a quarter and a half of our style of footy.
"We've got some things to work on, but we take the win and move on towards finals - it's good to beat those teams around that finals mix."
Mathew Lloyd was a standout for the Blues alongside Reagan Nutting, while 150-gamer Dylan Lees shone in his milestone match to kick two goals.
Lions vice-captain Dylan Cox played a ripper for the visitors while Tom Wilson (two goals) provided plenty of spark.
Harkness confirmed the side had come away with a clean bill of health, with late withdrawal Nick Couch (soreness) expected to return for the clash against Timboon Demons.
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