AN under-strength Wodonga has franked its claims for the netball title with a dominant away win over Yarrawonga.
Without star mid-courter Liona Edwards and shooter Jane Cook, the Dogs played with the bare seven and were never headed.
It gives Wodonga second spot on percentage and just two points shy of ladder leader Lavington with four rounds to go.
Kylie Murphy shifted to goal shooter and young gun Maggie Young came into the side that led by six at the first break in the 49-43 win at the JC Lowe Oval.
“We were under-manned without those two regular senior players but we had nothing to lose either,” Murphy said.
“But we started really well and probably played 3½ outstanding quarters of netball.
“All year we have been working on combinations that could adapt to being without some of our established A-graders.”
Murphy said a switch in defence had been a key to keeping Pigeon shooters Bridget Cassar and Abbey Jones quiet.
“Rebekah Ohlin went to goalkeeper and freed up Gemma Grimmond to play goal defence and she dominated that end of the court,” she said.
“It gives me a nice headache with Jane to be available when she is not playing for the Victorian Flames and while Liona is in a moon boot at the moment, we can continue to rest her with an eye on making sure she is right for the finals.”
Defenders also dominated a low-scoring affair between Lavington and Albury.
The reigning premiers prevailed 33-27 with Panther defenders Kate Yensch and Sarah Meredith, along with Tigers Liv Aughton and Brigetta Hart, were best on court.
Panthers captain Sarah Senini said the introduction of Rhiannon Dolahenty at wing defence after half-time had been a key move.
“We dominated that first 10 minutes of the third quarter and it gave us a five or six-goal buffer that proved the difference in the end,” she said.
“The momentum swung both ways during the game that was pretty much dominated by the defensive ends.
“But Albury is always a really tough game and they played as if their season was on the line.
“In recent years they have missed out on finals but only just — it is those games that they lose by less than a handful of goals that seem to cost them.”