North Wagga returned to winning form in a workmanlike fashion on Saturday, moving into outright third on the ladder with a comprehensive 43-point win against Charles Sturt University.
Under blue skies, and with a sign up the road at the public school declaring it 20C in the sunshine, Saints could have been forgiven for thinking it was spring time.
Except McPherson Oval remains a bog in patches - a reminder that they have struggled to train in recent weeks - and the intensity in the 8.14 (62) to 2.7 (19) win was some way off a finals game.
Still, it was a win. And, a week after their fifth loss of the season (to the Northern Jets), and forced into some positional changes, coach Cayden Winter wasn't going to sneeze at that.
"Happy," Winter said. "I'm happy."
"I really think we rectified what went wrong last week by getting on top in the clearances and I thought our spread from stoppages and congestion was really good, to get on the outside.
"In the end, I think we had too much leg-speed for them once we got on the outside."
Winter said their kicking was a little scratchy, including in front of goal, but they nullified how much that mattered by effectively shutting the Bushpigs out of the game.
The visitors were kept to just two behinds in the first half and finished with just two goals for the game, as North Wagga worked overtime in turning them around.
With Ben Alexander in the new role of ruckman and Jack Flood strong in the middle, Saints were on top in the first half, without absolutely dominating... kicking into a forward line suddenly missing the injured Daniel Jordan and the demoted Josh Campbell.
"We'll have to look at (Alexander's role) but I thought he competed really well and gave us a bit of a different look there in the midfield," Winter said.
Still, it was a 26 point lead at half-time, with Nathan Dennis kicking two of their four goals and Winter was about to dominate the second half himself.
His side got right on top in the third quarter and it was only that wayward kicking the stopped it getting right out of hand for CSU.
North Wagga had plenty of marks inside 50, and four misses in the first seven minutes, before Dennis stepped up to show them how it was done with his third goal from 50 metres and out near the boundary.
Saints closed the quarter with another three behinds - as well as a couple of shots that fell short - for a 5.11 halftime total while CSU had one on the board after Lachie Moore gave Harry Wakefield two shots at goal in front and he converted one.
If the game wasn't over then, it was early in the fourth when Dennis kicked his fourth, Ben Keith snapped his second, and then Dennis delivered a beauty from an angle for five for the game.
"We worked hard during the week on our forward set-up," Winter said.
"Obviously it's a pretty small forward line and if we can really get it functioning well, I think we can be very dangerous."
With a bye in the final round, Saints are desperate to lock up third spot in an all-important game at The Rock next week. They'll hope to have Corey Watt back after he was a late out due to a knee injury. (The Magpies had the bye this week).
Taking the gloss off the win, North Wagga key position player Ky Hanlon (playing forward and ruck) seemed a touch unlucky to be reported and yellow carded early in the second quarter for a bump on Jack Mason.
Youngster Lachlan Hart was another to impress for North Wagga although he kicked three behinds.
Ruckman Andrew Dickins battled hard throughout for the Bushpigs while Moore brought his customary energy and attack on the ball to try to get them going.
CSU tackle the vastly-improving Temora next week and then East Wagga-Kooringal in the final round.
North Wagga 2.1, 4.4, 5.11, 8.14 (62)
CSU Bushpigs 0.1, 0.2, 1.6, 2.7 (19)
Goals: (North Wagga) Nathan Dennis 5, Benjamin Keith 2, Jack Flood 1; (CSU) Jacob Collingridge 1, Harry Wakefield 1.
Best: (North Wagga) Ben Alexander, Sean Keith, Xavier Lyons, Jack Flood, Lachlan Hart, Benjamin Keith; (CSU) Andrew Dickins, Harry Turner, Steve Marsden, Adam Mckelvie , Lachlan Moore, Max Findlay.
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