Victor Harbor may have expected an easy match against the winless Myponga/Sellicks side in Saturday's cool, overcast conditions, but that was far from the case.
The style of congested defence that then ran forward hard to create opportunities, strangled the Roos forward line supply that led to inaccuracy, then punishment on the turnover in the first half.
Sam Basham and Davey opened their accounts, but good defensive run from O'Hanlon to link up with Hill, Donahue, Spinks and Mayes quickly opened up the play and allowed Olgilvie to mark unopposed and another off the deck in reply.
The second term was similar with Basham's third goal coming thanks to a long pass from his brother Ben, who was leading the way for Victor in defence.
The battle between Davey and O'Hanlon was a great duel, as was Fitzpatrick and McKay in the ruck, but the home side's midfield were beginning to get on top through Yeomans, the Weetra brothers, Hartshorne and Hewett pouncing on crumbs provided by Lang, Bartram and Connors in the back line.
At the long break it was Victor in control, but with a wasteful six goals ten behinds, still left the door open for the Mudlarks, who were less than four straight kicks behind.
A more quick, long direct style from both sides in the third quarter was far better to watch and after an opening 10 minute slog, Ross snapped a ground ball through the middle to break the deadlock.
Wade soon followed as did colt, Noah Williams who was swamped with well-wishers after his first goal in A grade football.
A brilliant pickup and goal from Myponga/Sellicks on the far side was the best of their three majors for the quarter, but the Kangaroo lead was now out to 40 points at the last break.
Clarke and Ogilvie when running in his team's 50 were presenting for the Mudlarks and Davey and Sam Basham were working well together for Victor.
Polst opened the scoring for the visitors in the last term when the ball sat perfectly in front of goal before a quick reply from Ross at the other end.
A free plus 50 allowed Myponga/Sellicks to goal again, before Ben Basham made the most of a 50 of his own with a long goal.
Players had given everything and looked both relieved and exhausted when the final siren sounded to signal a Victor win that may have looked easy on paper, but was in fact ugly, hard fought and well earned.
Best for the Roos were Ben Basham, Yeomans, Hartshorne, Bartram and Hewett and for the Mudlarks, Donohue is a welcome acquisition to the side, Hill, Spinks, O'Hanlon and Mayes.
The true test for Victor Harbor will be in the upcoming four matches before the turn, as they face other teams in the top five before knowing where they really sit in the pecking order.