RAND-Walbundrie-Walla climbed four rungs up the ladder after storming home to defeat fellow finals contender Culcairn by 11 points at Rand on Saturday.
Trailing by 10 points at the final change, Giants kicked 3.5 to 0.2 with the wind to put the disappointment of last weekend’s one-point loss to Jindera behind them.
It was a must-win game for the home team who were languishing in 11th spot before the match.
Coach Myles Aalbers, who was outstanding in kicking his team’s first four goals, said the Giants had tried to remain positive after narrow losses to Brock-Burrum and Jindera and a draw against Holbrook.
“Our form hadn’t been too bad, but we just couldn’t get over the line in a few tight ones,” Aalbers said.
“It’s such an even competition.
“I thought we defended really well against the wind and the boys still had plenty of run in their legs in the final quarter.
“Culcairn’s a good side so we’re rapt to get the win.
“We’re back in the mix going into the inter-league bye which is really pleasing.”
With the Giants missing key players Ryan Lavery, Kye Davies, Tom Simmons and Tom Plunkett, Chris and Jeremy Duck led the way with support coming from long-kicking Luke Emmerton, ruckman Brian Lieschke, defender Darcy Kilmartin and wingman Josh Feuerherdt.
Feuerherdt kick-started the Giants into action in the final quarter when he snapped truly before Nathan Brown and Jeremy Duck followed up to seal victory.
Culcairn’s Tim and Dane Hallinan and Caleb Simmonds were prolific, Jye Shields continued his fine season, Mosese Baleidrokadroka tackled his heart out and Brad Sheridan was solid in defence.
Osborne continued on its merry way by defeating Howlong by 24 points.
The Tigers set up the win with six goals in the first term and were never challenged with Duncan McMaster’s intercept marking in defence proving telling.
Mitch Wickham, Matt Guttler and Pat Delaney also played major roles.
Howlong ruckman Peter Hancock was resolute in his 100th game while Blake Williams continued his solid form.
An undermanned Brock-Burrum accounted for CDHBU by 31 points.
With a host of big names missing including Nico Sedgwick, Kade Stevens, Luke Schilg, Nick Brockley and Kade Garland, the Saints took time to shake off their opponents.
But Jeremy Luff, Ron Boulton and company made their run in the second term and held a four-goal buffer for the rest of the match.
Holbrook overcame some inaccurate goalkicking to defeat Billabong Crows by 16 points.
Centreman Josh Jones was best afield for the Brookers while youngster George Sandral again underlined his class for the Crows.
Jindera defeated Murray Magpies by 50 points thanks to eight goals from spearhead Trent Castles.
Henty proved a class above Lockhart, winning by 88 points.