A BFNL netball clash between Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk which promised so much delivered plenty, with equal doses of thrilling, triumph and heartache.
Nothing could separate the Roos and Hawks, when they clashed earlier this season - this time the margin was just two goals the Roos' way.
But what a difference two goals makes as Kangaroo Flat held on to score an epic win and wrap up the double chance, in the process relegating Eaglehawk to a cut-throat elimination final against South Bendigo next weekend.
A finals-like intensity at Dower Park brought with it plenty of early nerves, with both sides taking their time to settle.
Goals were at premium early in the opening two quarters, with scorelines of 10-10 at the first break and 17-15 the Roos' way at half-time indicative of what lied ahead.
Kangaroo Flat was able to eke out a five-goal lead twice in the second half, only to have the Hawks put the game on equal terms, but in the end the Roos, led by their experienced defensive trio of Alicia McGlashan, Kate Burton and Ingrid Hopkins, were able to hold their nerve the slightly the better to win 40-38.
The win was enough for the Roos to edge four points ahead of the Hawks on the ladder to grab third sport and set up a qualifying final contest against Gisborne, much to the delight of their coach Jayden Cowling.
"That was our aim, to get a double chance come finals .... it was a finals-like game, with the intensity there from the first whistle," he said.
"I thought we had control a lot of the game, there was a couple of times we got that five goal lead, but we dropped a few balls and Eaglehawk responded.
"We would have been super-disappointed had we have dropped the game getting those leads."
The Roos lost goal shooter Annie Spear during the week with a hamstring injury, with Cowling hopeful she would be back for next week's finals against the Bulldogs.
Her replacement Adrienne Murphy came up with a pair of big plays in the closing minutes, to help steady the Roos at a time when the Hawks were challenging hard and threatened to steal the game.
"Adrienne played A-grade last year and she knows what it takes - she has been training really hard the last few weeks and is still putting her hand up to play A-grade in finals," Cowling said.
"She gives us another strong option and this gives her plenty of confidence.
"I feel we can match up with any team, in the top five - now we have that second chance, after finishing fourth last season, I feel we've taken that next step."
Eaglehawk joint coach Allira Holmes was disappointed to miss the double chance in such a tight contest, but confident the narrow loss had not killed off any of the Hawks' momentum leading into finals.
"To Kangaroo Flat's credit they deserve the win, they took it right up to us. At the same time I feel we stepped it up too and applied the pressure we needed to, but we just didn't execute on the basics," she said.
"To have to claw back those two times we were four or five down, it shouldn't have happened - we can be better than that.
"It doesn't kill us going into finals, we are still focused and we know with that top five, it's really anyone's this season - we are all so tight and have all won games and lost games against one another.
"And we all know finals is a different game of netball."
The Hawks were best served by goal defence Elley Lawton and centre Ashley Ryan, while goal attack Abbey Ryan's 22 goals were the most from either side's shooters.
Julia Clarke led the Roos with 21.
Meanwhile, Strathfieldsaye made the leap into sixth spot after accounting for Maryborough 48-44.
The Storm already held a two point buffer on the Magpies going into the round, but were able to jump one spot after Kyneton lost at home to Sandhurst 55-37.
Gisborne rebounded from consecutive losses against Eaglehawk and Sandhurst to defeat Golden Square 70-13.
The loss leaves the Square winless for the season.
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