Albury’s bread and butter – the ability to play in bursts – plus the belief which comes from six premierships has proven too much for Yarrawonga in the top-of-the-table clash.
The Tigers survived a withering final-term surge by the home team to win 12.7 (79) to 11.8 (74).
Albury kicked three goals in five minutes to start the third term and backed it up with four in eight in the last to set up a match-winning lead.
“Not at one point did I look around and anyone thought we couldn’t win the game,” co-coach Shaun Daly said.
“They really came at us hard in that first half, they had more than double our inside 50s (29-12) and we were able to just hang on and stay in the contest.”
The match resembled the O and M’s interleague clash the previous week where the losing team failed to capitalise on momentum.
The Pigeons had 11 scoring shots to four to open a 17-point break at the 22-minute mark of the second stanza.
“I just think the patches they had momentum, they scored heavily, where we probably had momentum, we didn’t score as heavily as they did,” co-coach Chris Kennedy said.
That’s become Albury’s signature since emerging as a powerhouse in 2009.
It was an intense clash, but it wasn’t a game for the ages, like some between the league’s greatest rivals.
After a quiet first half, it was Luke Daly who ripped the initiative away from the Pigeons with three goals in 12 minutes to start the second.
And then the Tigers had four different goalkickers in the final term, including Will Blomeley, a late inclusion for Dean Polo, who was voted the Tigers’ best for his role in shutting down Mark Whiley.
“I was just trying to get him mentally, if anything,” Blomeley said.
“I knew physically I could probably run with him, but just get him mentally, keep my arm across him, and keep slowing him down and just not give him that easy touch.”
Blomeley’s goal at the 11-minute mark handed the Tigers a 29-point break.
Birthday boy Brad O’Connor kicked his third and then Brandon Symes exploded.
He attempted what would have been the mark of the year, but seconds later grabbed a contender to reduce the margin to 11 points with five minutes left.
Brady Pritchard supplied Symes’ fourth, but the Tigers held on for the final 11 seconds.
The class of Daniel Cross was vital, while Elliott Powell’s pace caused problems.
Symes was superb, Connor Hargreaves was the Pigeons’ best, while Beau Seymour toiled manfully after ruckman Lach Howe was called up for Collingwood’s VFL outfit.