Yarrawonga has stolen the double chance from North Albury.
The Pigeons toppled Wodonga Raiders 34-24 on Saturday, while North blew its chances in a shock 42-34 loss to Corowa-Rutherglen.
Yarrawonga finished the home and away season on 48 points, a win above the Hoppers.
It’s the 12th successive year Yarrawonga has finished in the top three and it will now meet Wangaratta in next Saturday’s qualifying final, under lights, at Lavington Sportsground.
North will face Albury in sudden death at Corowa’s John Foord Oval on Sunday.
The Pigeons’ 12-five final term proved the difference.
Coach Bridget Cassar, who played her first A grade game after giving birth recently, shot nine goals from 12 attempts in the second half.
“I wasn’t going to play but, due to a couple of pregnancies, it’s just about player availability,” she said.
The home team’s Mal Nankervis and Kaityln Cummins were outstanding, while the defence frustrated Raiders’ attack with Georgia Thomas (16 goals at 58 per cent) and Shaylah House (eight at 50) under pressure.
Yarrawonga’s effort is a wonderful achievement, given the club fielded just two of last year’s premiership team.
“So we had an influx of another seven players, so to finish third, this is a rebuilding year for us,” Cassar said.
“After playing a game like that, I’m very confident going into next week.
“We were with Lavington for three quarters last week and then it was just seven minutes of lapsed concentration.”
Raiders were best served by Brooke Pryse and Vashti Muller.
Meanwhile, North will rue its loss to the sixth-placed Roos.
The visitors’ Zoe McLeish (22 goals) and Claire Wilson (20) led the scoring, with the latter joining Stephanie Clancy and Brooke Bice in the best.
North’s Grace Senior shot 26 goals, with Elyse Boyer, Amelia Unthank and Molly Goldsworthy performing well.
The Hoppers’ Sara-Jane Farrell racked up her 200th club game.
Elsewhere, Albury might have provided a blueprint against Lavington.
The Panthers finished with an unbeaten home and away season, but the Tigers pushed them to 42-38.
Sarah Senini (20) and Alison Meani (17) produced the bulk of the scoring, while defenders Rhiannon Dolahenty and Sarah Meredith were terrific.
Jess Fisher-Curnow topped the home team’s scoring with 20, with Justine Willis and coach Olivia Aughton playing well.
Wangaratta toppled Wangaratta Rovers, 56-34.
Amanda Umanski posted 27 goals, while coach Kellie Keen chipped in with 20.
Issy Byrne and Kate Dean were strong for the Pies, while the Hawks’ Caitlyn Cose notched 20 goals in her 150th club game.
Ashlee Martin was the home club’s best.
And Myrtleford defeated Wodonga, 50-30.
Eden Broz shot 47 goals from 59 attempts at 80 per cent, while Wodonga vice-captain Jess Barton had a strong impact.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here