RAND-Wallbundrie-Walla put a string of narrow losses behind them to edge out Holbrook by two points at Holbrook on Saturday.
With their season on the line after dropping four matches by 16 points or less this season, Giants’ forward Todd Miller put his team in front with four minutes left on the clock.
Only one win separates sixth-placed Murray Magpies and ninth-placed Howlong with five rounds remaining with the top-six set to be decided in the final round of the home and away series.
Giants coach Myles Aalbers was relieved to win a tight match.
“It keeps us in the mix,” Aalbers said.
“I thought it showed we have learnt something from our close losses and I’m sure it will give the boys some self belief.
“It’s a really tight competition and I was proud of the way we ran the game out after being a couple of goals down at three-quarter-time.”
Holbrook full-forward Andrew Mackinlay was outstanding with eight goals while the long-kicking Curtis Steele provided plenty of run through the midfield.
Alec Sullivan, Brendon Hanckel, Josh Jones and Gus Keogh also gave the Brookers a good sight at victory in a see-sawing clash.
But Rand-Walbundrie-Walla held their nerve with Miller’s class proving telling.
Darcy Kilmartin, Justin Gordon and Chris Hutchinson turned in strong performances in a match which had major momentum shifts.
Holbrook, Rand-Walbundrie-Walla and Howlong have five wins each and are pressing a depleted Murray Magpies for sixth spot.
The Brookers play Culcairn, Osborne, Henty, Billabong Crows and Lockhart in the run home while the Giants meet Henty, Billabong Crows, Lockhart, CDHBU and the Murray Magpies.
Howlong has the Crows, Lockhart, CDHBU, Murray Magpies and Brock-Burrum to come.
CDHBU’s decision to move Tim Cooper from defence to attack reaped handsome rewards in their 38-point win over Murray Magpies at Coreen.
Cooper booted eight majors with Shannion Broadbent and Ryan Mills also playing key roles in the win.
Daniel Maher did his Azzi medal hopes no harm by turning in another top display while Shannom Gilson also played well.
Osborne held off Culcairn by 26 points.
Despite having fewer inside 50s than the Lions, the Cats’ spread of runners in Matt Rava, Sam Rutland and Izaac Mcdonnell and the dominance of Jamie Parr proved telling.
Osborne sprung a surprise by playing Hayden Gleeson at fullback on Trent Perczyk with the Lion spearhead restricted to one goal.
Culcairn co-coach Brendan Way was knocked out in a collision and is expected to miss Saturday’s clash against Holbrook.
Brock-Burrum defeated an improved Lockhart by 21 points, Henty accounted for Howlong by 64 points and Jindera wore down Billabong Crows.
With Al Austin back, the Crows look set to claim a scalp in the run home.