COROWA-Rutherglen will play in the A grade finals for the first time in more than 20 years.
The Roos went down by just two goals to North Albury at Bunton Park on Saturday but their disappointment turned to cheers when the news was delivered they were locked into the top five after Albury’s one-goal loss to Wodonga.
Corowa-Rutherglen coach Beck O’Connell said it was bitter sweet.
“We had given that game our all and with a bit of luck could have won,” she said.
“But we shook hands at the end of it all and started walking back disappointed when we heard the (Albury) result and there was this almighty roar — the North Albury girls weren’t sure what was going on.
“But the last time Corowa was in the A grade finals was ’93 or ’94.
“As it stands we will have two teams in finals and barring a shock result should have three.”
At the Albury Sportsground, Wodonga survived another nailbiter and slammed the nail into the coffin of the Tigers with a 46-45 win.
Without shooter Jane Cook and midcourter Liona Edwards to start the game, the Bulldogs suffered another blow when goalshooter Kylie Murphy was forced off in the third quarter with a calf injury and when scores were locked at 35-35.
“They had nothing to lose and in passages played well,” Murphy said.
“It was a very tight game as you’d expect against Albury — they have a very strong defensive end and they played to their strengths.
“But they probably missed a few chances in the last quarter and we were able to capitalise.”
Murphy said the two Becs — Rebekah Ohlin in defence and Rebecca Cameron at goal attack — were their best.
The win by Yarrawonga in the grand final replay with Lavington means the Panthers and Bulldogs are all but locked into the qualifying final with one round left to play, while Corowa-Rutherglen and North Albury will replay their weekend clash in the elimination final .
“We can now look forward to the finals and hopefully we’ll have Cook back and Edwards is expected to play a half next week after four weeks on the sidelines,” Murphy said.
“But the fact is nothing can change so we won’t be taking risks with anyone.
“We match up well against Lavington and it is sure to be a cracking game.”
O’Connell said the weekend’s performance was a confidence booster for the return clash against North Albury, which is likely to be played at Myrtleford.
“We’ve played them twice now and they beat us by 30 goals the first time and just two on Saturday,” she said.
“But they are an energetic, agile and highly competitive side guided by some great coaches — it will be tough.”