Plenty of stars were missing for a clash between the top two Goulburn Valley League sides, but Shepparton pushed Kyabram the Bombers closest this season.
The reigning premier was without playing coach Belinda Lees and brilliant goal keeper Lauren Pryde, but still managed to prevail 52-46.
The Bears had Morgan Gibson, Ashley Bradley, Kim Commane and Grace Egan unavailable, which produced a rare sight as coach Tracey Brereton stepped onto the court.
Brereton put on the goal keeper bib with Shepparton seven goals behind heading into the final term.
Going head-to-head with Elle Groves in the final quarter, Brereton was tight on her opposition and was a commanding presence in the circle, forcing Kyabram to take an additional pass to find a shooter.
‘‘We just needed to try something different in the last quarter,’’ Brereton said.
‘‘I just thought with the margin seven, I wasn’t convinced that we could possibly overtake them with what we had, so I put Tanya (Holland) on to see if we could change that pattern in the goals and I just thought I’d chuck myself for even five minutes to see if we could stop Elle from shooting and, to be honest, I think it worked.
‘‘We cut that margin to four or five and I think as a defensive unit we started to really hold it up.’’
Brereton joined Laura Ryan in defence, with the versatile star continuing her exceptional season.
The Bears stuck with Kyabram for nearly three quarters, slowing their transition into attack.
Shepparton trailed by just a goal at half-time, but could only combat the persistent pressure of the Bombers until midway through he third quarter.
Kyabram began to pick off enough ball to ease out the margin as Groves shot spectacularly while working with a new shooting partner.
With Lees coaching from the sidelines after battling tonsilitis during the week, Heidi Morris jumped into goal attack and did not look out of place.
‘‘She did really well under extreme pressure especially in a tight game and she’s learning a new craft, she’s a midcourter and so desperate times you go ‘what have I got as a coach and what can I develop?’’’ Lees said.
Separating the two sides was the Bombers’ composure.
Never phased by pressure, each player collected the ball and took the full three seconds to wait for the right option to present.
‘‘In the second quarter we were playing at their frantic pace and it doesn’t suit us, we’re, I feel, an intelligent team and know when our moment is to go and when our moment is to pull back,’’ Lees said.
Shepparton B-reserve player Laura Scott jumped up to be an A-grade shooter for the match, teaming up with her sister Erin, who stepped into centre from under-17s.