COROWA-Rutherglen looks poised to return to finals for the first time in five years after holding out Wodonga by 11 points on Saturday.
The Roos, who last figured at the business end of the season in 2009, sit fourth on the ladder with four wins from their opening six games.
A spot in the top five is now theirs to lose, but with crunch clashes against Wangaratta Rovers and North Albury to come after the interleague bye, coach Bryce Campbell said the Roos couldn’t get carried away.
“We’re not in a position to get ahead of ourselves,” he said.
“The club is in a good place and we are happy to be 4-2 but we know we’ve still got a lot to work on.
“It’s really important to keep beating the sides around us.”
The Roos always held sway at John Foord Oval on Saturday but failed to put the Bulldogs away.
They were on the verge of doing so when Kodee Lowe booted back-to-back goals at the start of the final quarter to go 29 points clear, but Wodonga refused to roll over.
Goals from Will Blomeley, Ben Hollands and then Sam Wortmann’s third kept them alive, but time was eventually their enemy.
Corowa-Rutherglen set the win up with an impressive first half.
Luke Gestier and Campbell dominated the opening term, giving the Roos an 11-point lead at the first change which grew to 22 points by half-time.
Gestier took Andrew Carter apart early and had the better of Zach Jones for the rest of the afternoon.
He finished the game with four goals, taking 12 marks, seven of them inside 50.
How Gestier was overlooked by interleague selectors remains a mystery.
Young guns Joe Han-sen, James Svarc and Hayden Filliponi all impressed for the Roos, with Al Austin a rock in defence.
Kade Kuschert made a successful return in the reserves and should play his first senior game for the year after the bye.
Wodonga coach Ben Hollands was left to lament another “almost” showing.
“We’ve just got to find a way to win,” he said.
“The boys deserve and need that reward for effort.
“Our defensive stuff and effort is really good, we just can’t find a way to kick it to each other.”