Myrtleford has kick-started its spluttering season with an impressive display against the giant-killing Wodonga.
With their season on the line, the Saints responded with a 13.10 (88) to 4.9 (33) win.
And the return of favourite son Christian Burgess from the VFL played a critical role.
“It’s awesome to be back,” he said.
Last year’s best and fairest runner-up revealed a team breakfast also played a pivotal role in the bounce back win from a poor display against Wangaratta.
“We had a chat in terms about individually what we wanted to focus on, in terms of everyone understanding their purpose,” he said.
“Everyone was quite clear on that and the result would take care of itself.
“What we put it down to was, obviously, just effort.”
The Saints lacked effort against Wangaratta in a 52-point hiding.
“I know the boys are really gutted with themselves so they were out to make a statement,” Burgess said.
Former Carlton player Frazer Dale elected to play despite carrying a foot injury, while boom recruit Tim Looby starred in the backline.
“Tim Looby was obviously not making the impact he wanted to and I think he went down back and was a bit of a general and I think he played his best game for the season,” Burgess said.
And if the Saints are to play a second successive finals campaign for the first time in 11 years, Looby will need a blinding run home in the final eight rounds.
Along with Looby and Burgess, Brady Sharp was outstanding for the home team, while Mitch Dalbosco also had his best game, playing across half-back.
Ryley Sharp also kicked three goals, while Will Quirk played his first game at senior level for the season.
The loss has squeezed Wodonga out of the top five.
The Bulldogs have claimed the big two scalps of Albury and Yarrawonga, but it’s their inability to beat the teams around them which could cruel their hopes of snapping a seven-year finals drought.
The visitors failed to kick a goal in the first quarter and finished with only four in a worrying sign for coach Dean Harding.
Once again, Jarrod Hodgkin was the standout.