SAINTS suffered its first loss of the Wangaratta and District Junior Football League under 16 season on Sunday afternoon, falling to an impressive Imperials outfit by four points.
The Saints fought hard through the efforts of Ben Harrington and Ryan Gropel, however, the Imps prevailed 11.4 (70) to 9.12 (66).
Despite the loss, the Saints still remain on top of the ladder, however, they are now only one game clear of the improving Imperials.
Playing at home on Sunday, the Saints were favored to continue their unbeaten start to the season and rack up win number 10, however, the Imps were determined to make a statement.
Saints opened solidly with two first quarter goals but the Imperials took a five-point lead into the quarter time huddle.
After such a strong first quarter, Imperials maintained their attack on the ball in the second term and continued to extend their lead.
Luke Collins and Murray Waite were superb up forward with three goals each while Sam Peters and Hamish Falla also picked up plenty of touches.
Down by 23 points at the main change, the Saints seemed stung by their first half and came out breathing fire in the third quarter.
Gropel, Harrington and Ryan Bisinella were in everything while Matthew Wentworth and Ryan Crisp also stood up.
However, for all their hard work, the Saints wasted their chances in attack, booting 1.6 for the term to reduce the margin to only 17 points at the final change.
They continued to do everything right in the final quarter and this time they made it count, kicking five goals for the term to storm back into the contest.
However, with the Imperials still intent on causing the upset, the Saints had left their charge too late and the Imps held on to a deserving victory.