Lavington coach Tamara Mathews is expecting a fired-up Albury outfit to push her side to the limit during Saturday’s clash at Lavington Oval.
The Tigers upstaged powerhouses Yarrawonga, 49-35, in a dominant display last weekend and have the top three in sight if they can beat the Panthers.
“They’ll be full of confidence, as they should be, particularly given we only had a one-goal win against them last time,” Mathews said.
“They’re in a battle with North Albury for third place on the ladder and the double chance, so there’s a fair bit at stake for them.”
However, Lavington will be at full strength for the first time since round eight – ironically when they last played Albury.
Key defender Rhiannon Dolahenty headlines the inclusions for the second meeting with the Tigers.
“It’s exciting for us and great news leading into the back end of the season and finals,” Mathews said.
“It’s a good problem to have when you’ve got quality players on the bench.
“It gives us flexibility and the opportunity to make changes when we need to, depending on the opposition and how we’re playing.”
Kate Yensch and Sarah Meredith have held the fort in the defensive circle for the Panthers in Dolahenty’s absence, which leaves Mathews with plenty of options.
“Regardless of who we have back there in the circle, we know we’re going to get a great effort and we’re lucky we have three tall defenders like that to choose from,” Mathews said.
“Whoever starts out of the circle will get back in there at some stage I would imagine.”
However, through missing players from the regular starting lineup, Lavington has been able to get plenty of game time into younger faces such as Maddy Lloyd and Caitlyn Gerecke.
The emergence of Alison Meani in the attacking third has also been a massive boost this season.
“The improvement of those girls and their form is probably what’s most pleasing at this stage,” Mathews added.
In the weekend’s other games, North Albury faces a tough task on the road to fellow finals contender Wangaratta to keep its spot in the top three.
Corowa-Rutherglen can keep its slim finals hopes alive if it beats Wodonga at John Flower Oval.
Yarrawonga will look to put last weekend’s unexpected hiccup against Albury behind when it hosts Wodonga Raiders, while Myrtleford has its best chance of notching up its first win of the season against Wangaratta Rovers.