Violet Town has one hand on the minor premiership.
The Towners fought off a huge challenge from Avenel in a cracking Kyabram District Football League game on Saturday to win by 22 points.
Poor kicking at goal from the Swans cost them any chance of a toppling the ladder leader, with Violet Town pulling away late in the match after Avenel got to within six points with five minutes to go.
Violet Town coach Sean Horsburgh was a late withdrawal from the Towners’ line-up after injuring his calf in the warm-up.
He said it was a nervous game directing his team from the sidelines as his side won its 13th game of the season.
‘‘It’s one of those things we wanted to get out of the way as soon as possible (a top two spot),’’ Horsburgh said.
‘‘We knew it’d be a tough game against Avenel, they’ve been playing some really good footy.
‘‘We were able to kick a few goals late and sometimes you just need to win like that in a ugly way, so it was a character building win.
‘‘We’ve got Stanhope at home this week and they’re still a mathematical chance of finishing top two as well.
‘‘They gave us a touch up earlier in the year, so we’ll be determined to make amends for that.’’
As well as Horsburgh sitting the match out, Violet Town was without Pat Horsburgh and Leigh Lugg.
Pat Horsburgh and Lugg might not return until finals.
Ruckman John Woodcock put in a powerful performance in the ruck, while Tim Kirkman, Ash Hobbs (four goals), Greg Dyer, Corey Robins and Sam Poole were outstanding.
Avenel seems destined to finish in fifth on the ladder after falling two games off Stanhope in fourth.
The Swans look likely for a blockbuster elimination final clash with Stanhope in the opening week.
It was only Avenel’s second defeat since round five after starting the season with four straight defeats.
Coach Don Stirling was superb for the Swans with three goals, while Michael Morgan, Paul Arandt, Scott Tyers, Lachlan Drummond and Mitch Thomas put in top efforts.