The Bendigo Pioneers edged out the Northern Knights by one point to claim their second NAB League win of the season.
The Pioneers withstood a spirited late surge from the Knights to hold on, 10.10 (70) to 9.15 (69) at Preston on Saturday.
"We were a couple of goals up halfway through the final quarter, but the Knights came hard at us,'' Pioneers' coach Danny O'Bree said.
"Bode Stevens kicked a crucial goal for us, but the Knights kept coming.
"The margin was back to three points and then they had two shots inside about 30m in the final few minutes and they missed them both.
"We showed some poise at the end to hold the game up and take some time off the clock.
"It was nice to be on the right side of a close result for a change."
O'Bree said Stevens, skipper Harvey Gallagher and Vic Country representative Harley Reid led the way for the Pioneers.
"Bode and Harvey stood out, they worked really hard and showed why they deserve a crack at the next level,'' O'Bree said.
"I thought Malik Gordon was one of our best as well. He's going really well at the moment.
"Eli Pearce was sensational down back in the second half. We needed some experience and better ball users down back.
"Eli and Jacob Nihill going back was a real difference for us. We were undersized back there, we couldn't hold their talls and they steadied the ship for us."
The Pioneers have the bye next weekend before finishing the home and away season against Dandenong (away) and Murray (home).
All NAB League teams qualify for finals.
"I'm really optimistic that we're back to playing some decent footy,'' O'Bree said.
"We still have some issues with our team defence, but our best is good enough against any team in the competition.
"If we can nail a few things I think we can turn some heads in the next month."
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