Benalla United overcame local rivals Southern Suns at Goorambat in a close eight-point win.
Played in slippery conditions at Goorambat Recreational Reserve on Saturday, United co-captains Jack Connor and Dylan Bell dominated from the outset.
The leaders ensured United went into the first break with a 14-point lead.
United continued on in the second quarter with James Webster in control across half-back. On a day not suited to big men, United’s Will Ellis was the exception. Ellis played well on the ball and was a strong presence at every contest.
Vaughn Kirk also racked up possessions, helping United to a handy 18-point lead at the long break.
United’s backline has developed into a confident group, standing firm under pressure.
The third quarter was scrappy, with both sides finding it hard to gain ground with the game being played between the half-back lines.
At the final break United still held a 16-point lead.
Not to be denied, the Suns came out strong in the last quarter. The home side kicked two quick goals and had United back under pressure.
Cam Holmes was a rock in defence, foiling some certain goals. With two minutes to play the Suns came within one point. But a penetrating kick from James Webster to Tom Maloney, who in turn kicked a long goal, sealed the win for United.
With two games to go before the finals, United’s win keeps it atop of the ladder. This Saturday, United plays Snow Road Saints at Milawa.