Wangaratta’s best football of the first six rounds has destroyed Wodonga’s hopes of an upset win.
The Pies kicked 10 goals to two in the first half half in cruising to a 14.11 (95) to 7.9 (51) win.
“That’s as good as footy as we’ve played this year in the first half,” coach Dean Stone said.
“We were terrific, under enormous physical pressure, and our guys really stood up.”
Wangaratta’s win will only enhance the club’s growing favouritism to snare the double chance.
Defender Michael Bordignon continued his scintillating start to the season, blanketing fellow interleague player Steve Murray, while Zac Hedin shut down McKaye Turner.
“Turner had no influence on the game and ‘Bords’ played on Steve Murray and I can’t remember if he kicked a goal,” Stone said.
Murray was kept goalless as Bordignon claimed another scalp, following his superb representative display against Goulburn Valley the previous week.
The Pies are building a dangerous side, with a defence capable of restricting teams to low scores, while their boom forwards Michael Newton and Josh Porter kicked three goals apiece.
And the midfield again impressed with former North Melbourne player Ben Speight and the rugged Matt Kelly named in the best.
“He (Kelly) wins that inside footy and he drove us forward,” Stone said.
“He was just really clean and he’s in really good form.
“He’s fit, he’s strong and his body’s holding up and his form shows that.”
Wangaratta’s win has pushed it back into the top five after it started with three straight wins.
The Pies have had one of the toughest draws, tackling the other four sides in the top five.
It now faces two of the bottom three outfits, as well as the inconsistent Myrtleford, to round out the first half of the season.
It should hit the halfway mark with a seven-two record to set up a genuine tilt at the top three.
Wodonga, meantime, has fallen two places into sixth.
The Bulldogs have split their first six matches, but they’ve kicked only seven, five and seven goals in their losses to Lavington, Raiders and now Wangaratta.