Thurgoona is plotting an upset or two in the season finale after seeing off the challenge of Tallangatta.
The Bulldogs eased to victory by 16.9 (105) to 11.12 (78), with Thomas Osmotherly playing a starring role in the ruck while Tom Rake booted four goals.
Thurgoona head into the general bye one win outside the top-five with six games remaining.
"This group is capable of anything," Bulldogs coach Dan Cleary said.
"Most of the good sides we've played, we've been there or thereabouts and now it's about trying to cause some upsets, making sure we get ourselves on the right end of some of them.
"Finals is the goal, it's where we want to be and it's what everyone plays footy for.
"There's so many teams on similar points that it's a reachable goal for us.
"After the bye, we play Barny and that's massive for us to try to steal that one so we can build some momentum in the back end."
Tallangatta led early, Luke Fraser kicking two of their first three goals, before the visitors lost star ruckman Scott Spencer to a worrying ankle injury.
His replacement, Sam Cannon, battled manfully against the giant Osmotherly but Hoppers coach Tim Kennedy couldn't hide his dismay at losing Spencer.
"He's struggling to put pressure on his ankle," Kennedy revealed.
"We're not too sure, it might be syndesmosis (a high ankle sprain) or it could be worse.
"He's got an overseas trip this week so we'll just play it be ear.
"Scott's massive for us.
"He dominates in the ruck, he dominates around the ground, uses the ball really well and moves so well for a ruckman so it's a massive loss.
"I hope it's not too serious so we can get him back before the season's out."
ALSO IN SPORT
An error-strewn game had the Bulldogs trailing by a kick at half-time but when Tyler Roberson booted a goal 15 seconds into the second half, it was the catalyst for a momentum shift.
Thurgoona doubled their score in the quarter off the back of heightened intensity and tackle pressure, with Tallangatta tepid by comparison.
The visitors were guilty of kicking away good positions and the Bulldogs' back six continually rebounded well.
"I'm unbelievably pleased," Cleary smiled.
"The last three or four weeks we've been building towards something but we've just not been able to finish games off and we've let ourselves down in a quarter.
"It's nice to be able to compete for those four quarters against a quality side.
"We're a very young side so hopefully they take a lot of belief from winning a close game like that."
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