CHILTERN has emerged as a serious premiership threat after claiming the prized scalp of flag favourite Thurgoona at Thurgoona on Saturday.
In their biggest statement this season, the Swans sealed a top-three finish after their courageous 12.12 (84) to 8.19 (67) victory.
Leading by four points at half-time, co-coach Rick Whitehead tore the match apart with a devastating five minute burst early in the third-quarter.
Whitehead took a strong contested mark 25m from goal and made no mistake with his conversion.
After some undisciplined play by the Bulldogs, Whitehead immediately received another free but missed the relatively easy shot to let the home side off the hook.
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It mattered little as a minute later Whitehead was again in the thick of the action as he took another strong grab and nailed the set shot.
The league's leading goalkicker booted four for the quarter and finished with a match-winning seven goal haul.
The Swans will now face Barnawartha in the qualifying final in a fortnight.
The Bulldogs await the winner in the second semi-final.
In a worrying sign for coach Brett Doswell the Bulldogs have now lost two of their past three matches.
Swans co-coach Luke Brookes said it was a good reward for his charges to finally claim the scalp of a genuine heavyweight.
"We knew it was always going to be a tough ask beating Thurgoona on their home deck in conditions that suited them more," Brookes said.
"But we were confident if we brought our best footy we would be competitive.
"We ended up being more than competitive."
Although the Swans were handed a friendly draw, they now boast a 3-2 record against sides in the final five.
Highlighting their premiership credentials, they have now beaten every side besides a 10-point loss to Barnawartha.
"Everyone says we have had a soft draw but we have beat all the contenders except Barnawartha," he said.
Adding further merit to the victory the Swans didn't have a bench after half-time after some early causalities in what was a highly psychical encounter.
"We had no bench and they were pretty physical and gave away some cheap shots early but we didn't get sucked in," he said.
"I was especially proud of Ricky who some critics think is a flat track bully.
"But he kicked seven today and had three blokes on him at different stages."