Wodonga Raiders Blue moved to the top of the Albury Wodonga Junior Football League under-16s ladder with a spirited fightback against leaders Albury at Albury Sportsground on Sunday.
The top two teams of the competition were locked in an arm wrestle for three quarters, but Raiders hit top gear in the final term to boot five goals to one to record a 9.7 (61) to 5.11 (41) victory.
Raiders Blue responded perfectly after it fell to Lavington last weekend following an enforced break due to COVID-19 restrictions.
It was Albury's first loss of the season and gives Raiders Blue the confidence they can be a major threat for the premiership.
"We hung in there for three quarters and it was a tight tussle, so it was nice to get a few goals in that last quarter," Raiders Blue coach Steve Ramage said.
"We knew they were going to be a good side.
"To be undefeated at this time of the year shows they're well-drilled and well structured, so it was good to get the result in the end.
"It was a grind for three quarters and our pressure around the footy was good.
"It was just one of those games that could have went either way and luckily we were on the right side."
Ramage paid tribute to his defence, which stood tall, particularly in the second quarter when Albury dominated possession, but didn't make the most of their opportunities.
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"I thought our back six held up really well throughout," he added.
"We've got a couple of byes coming into the finals, so this gives us some belief we're thereabouts with Lavi, the other Raiders side, Albury and Yarra, who are always around the mark.
"It's a good result for Raiders considering we have two teams in this age group.
"We got back into it last week, but we missed a week because of COVID.
We've got a couple of byes coming into the finals, so this gives us some belief where thereabouts with Lavi, the other Raiders side, Albury and Yarra, who are always around the mark.Wodonga Raiders Blue coach Steve Ramage
"Sometimes that isn't a bad thing because you freshen up and it probably gives the players an opportunity to reflect and realise how important footy is and how much they love it."
Albury came out on top in the under-14s clash between the two sides, posting a 8.8 (56) to 2.5 (17) victory.
The Tigers held their opponents goalless for the first half and continued to build after the main break.
Sonny Hynes and Zach Graham were the standouts for Albury with two goals apiece.
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