The Murray Bushrangers clinched their best win of the season after claiming the prized scalp of the third-placed Northern Knights at Wangaratta's W.J. Findlay Oval on Saturday.
The home side boasted one of its strongest line-ups of the season and withstood a third-quarter fightback to eventually prevail by 16-points.
The 11.5 (71) to 8.7 (55) victory was the Bushrangers second win of the season from seven matches.
Talent manager Mick Wilson said the Bushrangers were buoyed by the return of 11-players which was the catalyst for the upset win.
"It probably looked like an upset on paper but having the luxury of being able to bring in 11-players obviously has a massive impact," Wilson said.
"We have had 33 changes in the past three weeks which makes it hard to produce a consistent performance.
"So we had a reasonably strong side on Saturday but so did Northern Knights with most of their national academy players available which makes a big difference.
"We had our under-17 Vic Country players missing which was probably four players but were full-strength otherwise."
ALSO IN SPORT
The Bushrangers laid the foundations for the win during the first-half, booting an accurate 7.1 to 3.3 to open up a handy 22-point buffer.
Wodonga Raiders teenager Tom Bracher enhanced his growing reputation with a best-on-ground display.
Key forward Cam McLeod booted three goals and alongside Josh Rachele who finished with six goals provided the Bushrangers with a reliable avenue to goal.
Ryan Eyers and Macca Hallows were also solid contributors.
"McLeod played well across half-forward and provided a marking target," Wilson said.
"Eyers also played well up forward and and spent time in the ruck."
Wilson said the Knights dominated the clearances during the third term which enabled the visitors to get within one point at the last change.
"We dominated the midfield battle during the first-half and were 11 clearances up but the opposition swung that around during the third term.
"But we were able to wrestle back the midfield ascendancy in the last quarter and we had the aid of a bit of a breeze as well."
Osborne teenager Nick Madden made his debut for the Bushrangers and also impressed.
Madden has played five senior matches for the Tigers so far this season when free of commitments with the GWS Giants Academy.
The talented teenager is a huge chance to play in a premiership in his first season of senior football with the Tigers undefeated in the Hume league and raging flag favourites.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.