Shepparton Swans’ and Mooroopna’s most recent encounter followed the form of games across the past two years.
Four matches have resulted in a difference of just eight goals, including one draw.
And the winning points have all fallen to the Swans, with Saturday conforming to the trend.
Given Jana Bruinier’s side is just six points ahead of the Cats inside the top bracket, Saturday’s loss will leave Mooroopna just short of finals again.
Cats coach Jenni McCluskey conceded it was her side’s last chance to gain a finals position given Shepparton United and Shepparton await in the last two rounds.
‘‘It was a really good match, we just weren’t able to get the upper hand,’’ McCluskey said.
‘‘We played a good strong defensive game again, we were bringing the ball down okay, but we just made some silly mistakes that allowed the turnovers.
‘‘I was just hoping that we could at least draw, it’s always disappointing when you miss the easy ones (goals).’’
Pressure had both sides send shooting attempts astray during the game, particularly during a tense final quarter.
Star Mooroopna centre Mia Fallon could only help from the bench, sidelined by a wrist injury as shooter Monique Lenehan-Moustafa was also unavailable.
Lauren Murray stepped out into goal attack, but the entry into the shooting circle was not easy with Kristy Down and Tiarna Steel keeping close check.
Paigan Impey provided some youthful run through the midcourt and McCluskey said the rising talent would only improve the more time she spent in the A-grade side, with Kate Fletcher the class the Cats needed.
But the Swans were always just a play ahead of Mooroopna.
Captain Nat Simpson was the general in the midcourt directing traffic as her and Shinea Sali provided bursts of pace to move the ball forward.
Bruinier was pleased with how the experienced duo joined forces.
‘‘They’re not a combination I usually put together in the attacking midcourt, they’re both similar players, but with great agility and speed they can be quite erratic,’’ she said.
‘‘Sometimes it’s nice to have a steady player in there, but it’s a combination we have been developing and I’m happy with how they played.’’
Moving the ball past the Cats’ circle defence was not easy, with Ash Lancaster and Maddie Wong a superb team that seamlessly interacted with each other.
Entering the last quarter four goals ahead, the final margin was whittled down to two as the win sealed the Swans a finals appearance.
‘‘It definitely means going into the next few rounds that we’ll paly with a bit of freedom, with Echuca and Mooroopna we’ve played with a bit of tightness and some rust with time off after the bye,’’ Bruinier said.