Myrtleford showed its rapidly improving maturity with a stunning 29-point upset over a bitterly disappointing Wangaratta on Saturday.
The Saints had been smashed by a combined 138 points against Albury and Lavington in successive weeks and started underdogs against the pre-season premiership favourites, who were admittedly understrength.
But the home side never trailed, reigniting its top three hopes with a 12.8 (80) to 6.15 (51) win.
"It's pleasing to see our group improve in areas where we didn't perform in previous weeks," delighted coach Jake Sharp said.
"Some of our defence was really good (in those losses), but the consistency and the ability to follow our structures deviated and that led to flow-ons (other mistakes in our play).
"Defensively we had to work hard and improve on how long you had to concentrate for to be able to perform."
The Saints lost impressive backman Hugh Wales for 15 minutes early in the second quarter for allegedly striking Mark Anderson, but the inaccurate Pies were only able to kick 1.6 in that time.
Sharp was outstanding and he set the tone with the first clearance, with Elijah Wales goaling after 33 seconds.
Elijah Wales pounced on a loose ball to set up Tom Ellard for the second and when teenager Darcy Chellew snapped out of a pack midway through the term, the outsiders had a three-goal break.
In his comeback to senior football after retiring in August, 2017, veteran Brad Murray set up Lachie Dale's first as the Saints carried a 25-point lead to quarter-time.
Mat Grossman cut the margin to eight points at the 10-minute mark of the third term, but the visitors never seriously threatened and fell behind by seven goals at the same stage in the final stanza, before landing two goals to add some respectability to the score.
Sharp posted a match-high 29 disposals after carrying a quad complaint into last week, kicking a goal and taking a contender for the year's most courageous mark (see other story on page).
Elijah Wales (19 touches and three goals) produced a four-quarter effort, while Dale (22) and Tom Ellard (25) also bagged three majors.
Despite his spell, Hugh Wales (20) was terrific, while former AFL player Kurt Aylett (26) had 10 in the last quarter.
It was hard to find a good Pies' player.
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