Mitta United produced a finals-like performance in toppling fellow contender Wahgunyah by 25 points.
The visitors now have six wins from their past seven games after a 13.14 (92) to 9.13 (67) win.
“We just played four solid quarters,” Mitta coach Mark Dicketts said.
“It was a little bit like a finals game and both teams are probably fighting for a potential top three spot.
“It was our first game this year played like a final and it’s good for us to see where we’re at.
“I suppose we’re always perceived at Mitta as being a finals contender but we had a fair turnover of personnel from last year, it’s a newish group together.”
Mitta fell to Thurgoona in the grand final, but is missing at least a third of that team.
It was a little bit like a finals game and both teams are probably fighting for a potential top three spot. It was our first game this year played like a final and it’s good for us to see where we’re at.Mark Dicketts
Kyle Maynard and Ned McCormack, who both travel from Melbourne, were outstanding.
“Kyle’s just getting better and better every week,” Dicketts said of his wingman.
And while the Blues have found consistency after a slow start, the Lions are headed in the other direction.
Since the bye, Wahgunyah has failed to win successive matches after a flying start.
Mitta has now closed the gap to the Lions to two points.
Angus Lingham and Matt Grantham were the home team’s best.
Meanwhile, the premiers Thurgoona retained top spot with a thumping 27.33 (195) to 10.5 (65) win over Wodonga Saints.
Sam Cross booted nine goals, Cody Mannagh four and the league’s leading goalkicker Matt Fowler three, with another Albury premiership player in Mark Bush best on ground.
Yackandandah edged out Tallangatta, 11.15 (81) to 9.13 (67).
Trent Castles and Lee Dale kicked three apiece, with Michael Rose joining Lee in the best.
Joel O’Connell was the pick of the visitors.
Barnawartha belted Beechworth, 17.20 (122) to 3.6 (24).
Cameron McNeill was best on ground, with support from Jordan Palmer, while Brayden Carey battled bravely for the Bushrangers.
It was another big win when Kiewa Sandy Creek smashed Chiltern, 24.13 (157) to 8.2 (50).
Guy Telford kicked nine goals, while Trent Turner and Tim Kindellan were superb.
Murray Price kicked half of the Swans’ majors.
Rutherglen blitzed Dederang Mount Beauty, 24.17 (161) to 1.2 (8), with recruit Sam Bowers landing four.