Kiewa-Sandy Creek climbed to third after surviving a scare away to Dederang-Mount Beauty.
The Hawks trailed at the first and last breaks but hung in to win by 9.11 (65) to 9.7 (61).
Jake Hicks kicked three goals and there were two each for Dillon Blaszczyk and the impressive Chris Lewis.
The home side were best-served by Cody Hewat and two-goal Elliott Powell.
Elsewhere, Barnawartha cemented its place in the top-five after returning from Rutherglen with a 28-point win.
Only four points separated the sides going into the game but the Tigers had too much on the day, with Mitch Exton's six goals the difference.
"It's a shortened season now so to keep putting wins on the board is super important for us," Barnawartha co-coach Tom Anson said.
"Who knows what will happen in the coming months with the COVID situation so to bank wins when you get opportunities is really important for us as a group.
"We were a bit rusty and so were Rutherglen, a bit fumbly and missing a few targets in the first half especially but that was probably to be expected.
"You can do scratch matches but it just doesn't simulate the game day pressure.
"There was a breeze heading to one end and they started really well.
"We had the breeze in the second, so that put us back in contention, and the breeze eased off after half-time.
"It was a pretty even battle around the contest for most of the day but we were just able to keep ahead of them."
ALSO IN SPORT:
Chiltern remains top, ahead of Yackandandah on percentage, thanks to a 75-point victory away to Mitta United, while Thurgoona thrashed winless Wodonga Saints by 125 points.
Wahgunyah got the better of Beechworth, 16.11 (107) to 7.11 (53), with Gavin Cathie kicking seven goals.
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