MAIDEN Gully YCW made it a milestone day to remember for defender Laura Butler by defeating fellow premiership aspirant Marong at Malone Park on Saturday.
With second-placed Calivil United out of action in A-grade, the Eagles tightened their hold on top spot with a well-drilled 20-goal triumph over the Panthers.
It was a costly loss on two fronts for Marong, who were dealt a couple of blows during the week with an ankle injury to goal shooter Bridget Willox and an illness to defender Tania Kerrison.
Back for her first game in 12 months after an ACL injury, Kim Dalton reinjured her knee in the opening five minutes of the game and faces another long period on the sidelines.
The Panthers also dropped to fourth after Mitiamo defeated Bears Lagoon-Serpentine 84-23 at Serpentine to move into third spot.
Still, nothing could take away from a convincing win for the Eagles, who made it seven straight wins since their only loss this season against the Panthers in round one.
Coach Christie Griffiths was rapt to add to her team's impressive record against top-five rivals and to cap a special day for 150-gamer Butler.
"I'm a little relieved to have got the win; we got off to a good start, but I wasn't happy with the second quarter when we let them come back," she said.
"We lost that first half of the second quarter but came back in the second part.
"But we were happy and a little bit surprised to get a 20-goal win.
"We haven't had our full team since before Bridgewater (in round eight), but Laura Butler was back and played her 150th game, so it was good to have everyone there and start the second half of the season with a win."
The Eagles led by 11 goals at quarter time, but only eight at half time.
The margin was 15-goals at three quarter time.
It was all hands on deck for the in-form Eagles in an even team performance.
Hard pressed to single out a couple of best players, Griffiths eventually settled on star midcourter Leisa Barry, who started at wing attack before going into centre, and hard-working goal attack Meg Patterson as arguably the pick of the bunch.
While the Eagles will not play another top-five side until Calivil United on July 23, Griffiths warned they would not be taking any of their opponents before that lightly.
"You don't go into any game thinking it will be easy; you just don't know what can happen," she said.
"I felt for Marong today when Kim Dalton went down in the first five minutes with a knee and in her first game back after doing her ACL.
"As I say, you don't what might happen and you can't take anything for granted."
At Pyramid Hill, a depleted Bridgewater, minus stars Claudia Collins and Carly Ladson, shored up fifth position with a 36-28 win over the Bulldogs.
It was the fourth win of the season for the Mean Machine, who have battled for consistency in their line-up due to illnesses and injuries.
They will get their chance at a much-coveted win over top-five rival next weekend against Marong.
Mitiamo is now on level terms with the Panthers on the ladder following their earlier season draw, with the teams set to meet again at Marong on July 2.
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