Wangaratta defender Ben Douthie reiterated his importance to the premiers with a superb return at home against North Albury.
The clever Douthie hadn’t played in seven weeks due to an AC joint injury, but it looked as though he’d never been away in the 13.16 (94) to 6.3 (39) win.
His lethal left foot and clear decision making will again be vital in the final weeks of the season.
The Pies welcomed back only three of the four premiership players named, with defender Michael Bordignon ruled out with gastro.
Joe Richards, Jessie Smith and Craig Evans also starred, while Hopper defender Tom Gallaway maintained his consistent season.
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