Albury ended the league’s greatest era on Sunday with a five-goal win over Yarrawonga.
The Pigeons suffered successive finals losses to finish an 11-year grand final streak in falling 51-46 at Wangaratta Rovers’ WJ Findlay Oval.
“This is our rebuild year and I think we’ve done not a bad job, we had three girls from our starting nine from round one,” coach Bridget Cassar said.
The Pigeons had won seven premierships.
Albury is now just a win away from only its second grand final in the league’s 25-year history.
“We knew they were going to be super physical coming through on passes, they’re so athletic and we knew ‘Yarra’ would have the legs,” jubilant Albury coach Olivia Aughton said.
The Tigers held a one-goal lead at half-time, but produced a 15-eight quarter to seize the initiative.
“Their goalers today (Sunday), they didn’t miss,” Cassar said.
Jess Fisher-Curnow fired 32 from 36 attempts at 89 per cent, while Bree Poole only missed two from 21 at a stunning 91 per cent.
Justine Willis also played well.
Steph Elliott landed 26 goals, with Kaitlyn Cummins and Tilly Kennedy outstanding.
Meanwhile, Wangaratta is through to only its second grand final in league history after a lightning start ended Lavington’s unbeaten run on Saturday.
The Pies stunned the Panthers in the second semi, blasting six goals in the first five minutes before claiming a thriller, 37-34.
A number of players burst into tears after the stunning upset.
“It’s been a very, very, very long time coming, obviously we were super stoked with our first finals win last year in 21 years,” jubilant captain Kate Dean said.
“A lot of this team has been playing at this club since they were juniors, we’ve got about five 100-game players in this team.
“It’s been a long journey and that (emotion) was the result you saw today.”
It’s been a long journey and that (emotion) was the result you saw today.Kate Dean
Wangaratta had a five-goal break at quarter-time with its pace proving too much.
Lavington double-teamed the game’s tallest player – 185cm shooter Amanda Umanski - who posted 18 goals, but Pies’ coach Kellie Keen chipped in with 19.
“Obviously they have a height advantage (Lavington has three defenders 180cm or more) over us, we just needed to keep it short and sharp,” Keen said.
Issy Byrne and defenders Dean and Hannah Grady were excellent.
Sarah Senini and Alison Meani posted 16 goals apiece, with Kate Yensch and Rhiannon Dolahenty, who played on Umanski, terrific.
Wangaratta lost its only grand final in 1996.
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