Sandhurst made the halfway turn of the BFNL season with a 4-5 record after it defeated Castlemaine by 111 points at the QEO on Saturday.
The 19.21 (135) to 3.6 (24) victory kept the Dragons in touch with Eaglehawk and South Bendigo in the race for fifth position.
"It was pretty comprehensive from start to finish,'' Sandhurst coach Ashley Connick said.
"We're only one game off South Bendigo and Eaglehawk and our percentage (133.44) is really healthy, which shows our losses have been reasonably small.
"We set ourselves prior to today for the final 10 games and if we could win a large chunk of them we'd have a good chance to get in.
"We wanted to put four quarters together today, which we did, and if we had kicked straighter it would have been a better win.
"The swirly wind made it a tough day to kick goals, particularly at the Barnard Street end and pool side pocket.
"The scoring shots after half-time were pretty dominant, so we're happy with what we got out of it.
"We're looking forward to having a crack at Gisborne next week."
The young Magpies battled hard against the odds.
They lost key quartet Bailey Henderson, John Watson, Liam Wilkinson and Tom Cain from the squad named on Thursday night.
Midfielder Callum McConachy strained his hamstring in the first quarter and Tyson Hickey left the ground with a shoulder injury.
"It was a tough day at the office,'' Castlemaine coach Don Moran said.
"We're running low on numbers and we just didn't have any team balance all day."
Bendigo Pioneer Jed Denahy showed some good signs for the Pies, with one big pack mark a highlight.
Midfielder Tommy Horne would have stretched his lead in the club best and fairest with another solid performance, while Brendan Josey and Jackson Hood were good contributors through the midfield and in defence.
Former Castlemaine junior Lloyd Butcher, who played on a match permit, held his own in the ruck.
A highlight for the Dragons was a four-goal haul from Lachlan Zimmer in his 50th senior game for the club.
"He's had two knee reconstructions in his time and the boys were keen to put in a good performance for him,'' Connick said.
"He's 25 and it should have been his 150th game instead of his 50th game and the boys just love him as a team-mate and as a person."
Lee Coghlan, James Coghlan, Zach Pallpratt and Cobi Maxted (five goals) also played well for the Dragons.
"It was even, it was pretty hard to pick a clear best player,'' Connick said.
"As it tends to happen in those types of games, everyone played quite well. We should get Cooper Smith and Lachlan Hood back next week, so we'll have a couple of tough decisions to make."
Sandhurst hosts the undefeated Gisborne at the QEO next week, while Castlemaine heads to the Kyneton Showgrounds to face the Tigers.
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