THE message was clear at three quarter time.
The Murray Bombers might have been 11 points in the clear, but Shepparton United was coming hard and fast.
With pride in where his club is going, co-coach Simon Maddox told his charges they were a different team this year — and they needed to remember it.
‘‘We are not the football club who goes back into their shells anymore,’’ he screamed.
And Echuca listened.
It was a hard fought final quarter under Saturday night lights at Victoria Park, but the Murray Bombers held on.
The Demons outscored the Murray Bombers in the final quarter, but some stunning form across half-back from debutant Peter Faulks saved the game for Echuca.
Faulks was dominant across the line, taking multiple intercept marks in the final quarter with the game on the line.
But the key thing remains — Echuca are 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade.
Maddox said after the game the club was incredibly happy with the result.
‘‘If you had of said to us that we would start the season this way we would take it every day of the week,’’ Maddox said.
The club has identified its starts to games as a major issue this season, with the side trailing at quarter time in their opening two games.
This week, it wasn’t an issue, with the Bombers leading at quarter time.
‘‘We’ve had an emphasis on it this week,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘It was really pleasing to see us start off the way that we did. The only thing that I believe was lacking was a bit of polish. We missed a few goals in the opening quarter. You kick them and go in with a six or seven goal lead, it changes the whole night.’’
The first half blow for the Bombers was Simon Buckley suffering a minor hamstring complaint — he was not sighted for the rest of the game.
Post-game Maddox said it his benching was just a precaution.
‘‘Bucks felt ok,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a very minor complaint. He wanted to go back on and he probably could have, but at that stage we were a few goals in front so we decided it was better to wait.’’
The injury saw Andrew Walker take more of a role in the midfield for the night, earning himself best on ground honours.
The new Echuca attitude will be tested this week, with the Murray Bombers facing their biggest test in the undefeated Kyabram.
‘‘There is a reason they haven’t lost a game in more than two years, they’re an incredible side,’’ Maddox said.
‘‘We have seen as a side that we play really good footy when we are at our best. We haven’t produced four quarters of our best football. And we know we will need to produce our best for the full game against Ky.’’