Ladder positions are on the line, but with different consequences for tomorrow’s winner between Shepparton Swans and Echuca.
The Swans are still pushing for third position, competing with incumbent Shepparton United as well as Benalla and even sixth-placed Euroa.
With one of the hardest runs home across the Goulburn Valley League, it is a situation coach Jana Bruinier said would prove her side was worthy of playing finals.
‘‘The comp is so tight that we don’t deserve to be there if we can’t win two of the last four, I enjoy competing at a high standard of play that you can challenge yourself with,’’ she said.
Taking last round’s game against Benalla in the final 10 seconds of the match, Bruinier said importantly it showed signs of her side’s cohesion.
‘‘We were much happier with our game not just because we won, but our team game on the weekend was good, we focused on all those small things,’’ she said.
After Bruinier stepped into goals with Olivia Mason last year, the pair have continued to work on their attacking play and their improvement is reflected on the Swans’ win-loss tally.
‘‘Liv and I have finally settled into a pretty good combo and I’m happy with how we’ve been going, even across the losses,’’ she said.
Echuca coach Casey Frame said Bruinier was a key player to watch out for whether she was playing in the midcourt or in goals, with her consistency causing headaches.
But helping Frame’s cause will be the absence of Swans ace Nat Simpson.
The Murray Bombers lost to the Swans by nine goals in round four, but their midcourt star Erin Hill missed that match.
Frame said the side would be buoyed by Hill’s talent and leadership.
‘‘Knowing we’ve got Hilly gives our girls a lot more confidence, but in saying that, we can’t rely on her to do everything,’’ she said.
‘‘Last week our goalers didn’t really have a solid game, but they’re ready to have a blinder, they’re working hard, it’s just their conversions that are letting them down a bit, so it’d be nice for them to be rewarded.’’
Echuca sits just two points outside of the top six, with a one-goal win against Mooroopna breaking its run of three consecutive losses last week.
‘‘We probably lost the two games in a row and we weren’t mentioning it (finals), but we sat down and had a bit of a chat and said the next three games are critical and that was Mooroopna and then the two Shepp teams,’’ Frame said.