MINOR premier Albury tuned up for the Ovens and Murray Football League under-18s finals with a resounding 72-point win against fellow finalist Yarrawonga at Albury Sportsground on Saturday.
The Tigers have their best chance of winning a flag since the competition started in 1973, after finishing two games clear of Wangaratta Rovers.
Albury has finished the minor premier in the seniors, reserves and third grades and is aiming to become the first club to win all three since Wodonga in 2004. The finals series starts on Saturday.
Albury led by 29 points at half-time and held the Pigeons scoreless for the rest of the match.
Sam Crawshaw was the Tigers’ leading goal-kicker with three and Dominic Brew, Nick Slaven and Sam Cresser were named in the best players.
Wangaratta Rovers and Wangaratta will meet in the qualifying final at McNamara Reserve on Sunday.
The Hawks tuned up for the finals with a 44-point win against Alpine Eagles in a dominant second half.
Rovers led by only eight points at half-time before lifting in the second half, thanks to the input of forwards Stuart Booth and Jack Davies, who kicked three goals each.
Brad Collihole played another strong game in defence for the Hawks, who kept the Eagles goal-less after half-time.
Mason Bayliss, Justin Baldori and Brady Sharp were among the Eagles’ best.
Their coach, Ian Wales, is stepping aside and will be replaced by Michael Quirk next year.
Wangaratta, the premiers of the past two seasons, completed the home-and away-rounds in style with a crushing 122-point win against Corowa-Rutherglen at John Foord Oval.
The Magpies kicked 8.3 to nil in the first term. Brody Gaul (six), James McClounan (five) and Louis Vescio (four) kicked 15 goals between them.
Wangaratta will be at full strength during the finals with their senior team missing from September action.
The Roos’ best and fairest, Harrison Payne, was the team’s best.
Lavington tuned up for an elimination final showdown against Yarrawonga with a 36-point win against Wodonga.
The Panthers trailed at half-time before Mitchell Lawrence, Clint Gardiner and Layne Heinjus led the revival.
North Albury capped an improved season by beating Wodonga Raiders by 63 points.
Blake Escott and Mitchell Eyers were best for the Hoppers.
Raiders coach Glenn Wilkinson has announced he is stepping down from the job after one season in charge.