THE Murray Bushrangers came agonisingly close to causing one of the boilovers of the season when they lost to ladder leader Eastern Ranges by four points at Wangaratta's Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.
Trailing by 26 points at half-time, the Bushrangers charged home on the back of a five-star performance from promising ruckman Will Christie.
The Wangaratta Rovers player dragged down a handful of contested marks and was instrumental in the home side taking control of the stoppages.
Jye Chalcraft narrowly missed a snap shot in the dying seconds which would have secured victory.
Coach Mark Brown was proud of the way his players responded in the second-half.
"I thought it was as well as we have played all year," Brown said.
"It was really a tale of two halves.
"They had it on their terms early and then we started to control the pace of the game.
"I was rapt the boys stood up against a really good opponent."
The Bushrangers, who had 10 bottom-age players in their side, were best served by Christie, Chalcraft, Zane Barzen and Zavier Maher.
Defender Jay Hillary injured his ankle during the match.
The Bushrangers play Northern Knights on Sunday.