Six goals straight from forward Matt Wallis and a towering performance from teenage defender Mitch Doyle helped the Northern Jets reclaim fifth spot on the ladder on Saturday, when they held off The Rock-Yerong Creek by 19 points.
Demoted from the five on percentage last week, the Jets won their spot back after a big second half at Ardlethan set up a 16.15 (111) to 13.14 (92) victory.
Coach Mitch Haddrill said their second win against TRYC this year felt vital, as they moved to outright fifth, four points clear of Coleambally and two wins ahead of the Pies and CSU.
"It's great, especially on the home turf," Haddrill said.
"I kept saying before the game it was pretty much like a finals game for us - we're going to be fighting with The Rock for a spot. So we had to win this one to keep our season alive and to our credit, we all turned up to play."
The Jets made a flying start, with the first three goals establishing an 18-point lead before the visitors even got into the game. And that was the story of the day.
TRYC recovered from the early shock to dominate much of the first term. But that three-goal handicap hurt and they held just a three-point lead at quarter time.
Haddrill put his side in front early in the second and they wouldn't relinquish it again.
The Pies hurt themselves, butchering some ball in their forward line, only to see Haddrill find space at the other end and put his side eight points clear against the momentum.
At half-time the margin was nine points to the Jets, after three goals to a dominant Wallis whose goal-kicking feats were surpassed only by his strong marking.
Despite TRYC enjoying time in control, the Jets were better at making hay when the sun shone. And the longer they game went, the more they looked likely, although the Pies refused to concede, right to the death.
After another strong start to the third quarter, Wallis' fourth goal opened up a 23-point lead, only to see the Pies power back into it with three classy goals to Jake Gunning and then Tom Yates and Jack Driscoll hitting the mark for the visitors to trail only by a kick.
But the same story kept unfolding.
Paddy Bray put the Jets more than two goals clear early in the last, although by mid-fourth-quarter they were still looking for a match-sealer.
Enter Ned Fisher, with two left-foot goals in a minute to lift the home crowd as they went 25 points clear, a lead stretched beyond five goals when Chris Bell capped a superb game with a goal in the 18th minute.
The Pies made it a heart-stopping finish with a quick double to Luke Fellows (three for the game) and Yates' third before Jack Driscoll had a chance to bring the margin back to seven. The shot missed, the Jets steadied, Wallis kicked his sixth after the siren, and the Jets were back into fifth while the Pies lamented another narrow loss.
Seventeen-year-old Doyle's effort in shutting experienced Pies forward Andy Carey out of the game was awesome.
"For him to do that on Andy Carey, that's a bloody good effort. He's having a fantastic year for us and he's very strong," Haddrill said.
In an impressive team effort from the Jets, Brad McKinnon also had a big game at the back, Hamish Gaynor and Paddy Bray injected some run, Bell and Haddrill were strong through the middle, Wallis kicked straight and marked superbly, and Josh Parmenter also made his presence felt up forward.
"I can't fault anyone today. We had a word to a few blokes, we needed them to step up and everyone did," Haddrill said.
However, their win was soured by Josh Avis stretchered off in the last quarter with a shoulder injury.
For the Pies, Jim Carroll was heavily involved again and kept his side in the game, while Yates worked hard and Gunning was dangerous up forward to finish with four goals.
"They beat Barellan and CSU pretty well, and CSU gave us a bit of a touch up the other week, so they're a good side and have a lot of good players," Haddrill said.
"We knew the likes of Yates and Carroll and Pieper would play well and we had to shut them down."
Two wins outside the five with seven games to play, the Pies are at home to Coleambally next week while the Jets travel to East Wagga.