Howlong goes from its knees to top bracket | PICTURES

HOWLONG has moved into the top-six for the first time this season after a hard-fought 16-point win over Murray Magpies at Urana Road Oval on Saturday.

In a must-win clash for both sides, the Spiders reeled in a 15-point half-time deficit to win 18.12 (120) to 16.8 (104).

Albury recruit Josh Dicketts was the big difference with nine goals in his best performance since crossing to Howlong this season.

The athletic big man thrived in an open forward line and having the attacking 50-metres to himself.

He dragged down several strong contested marks, often against two and three Magpie opponents.

Speedster Joe Pargeter and Beau Waker worked in tandem with ruckman Peter Hancock with the trio instrumental in setting up the victory.

Rookie Spiders coach, Joel Price, said the match was the classic eight-point encounter that allowed the Spiders leap-frogged the Magpies into sixth position with a 4-3-1 record.

“We really set ourselves for the match with the Magpies in sixth spot. It was a game we simply had to win if we wanted to play finals,” Price said.

“We were 28-points down 10 minutes into the third quarter but were able to produce some of the best footy we have played all season and snatch the win.

“The challenge now is to play like that for longer periods.

“If we can do that, I think we can be more than competitive, come 

finals time if we are lucky enough to get there.

“We have Billabong Crows followed by Osborne and Jindera and, realistically, need to win all three if we are to pinch a finals berth.”