WOORINEN has given its premiership credentials a huge boost with a comfortable 21-goal victory over minor premiers Swan Hill in the A Grade netball second semi final on Saturday.
Playing on a neutral court at Cohuna, the match-up between two of the league's best sides was always set up for a mouth-watering clash, with the last time the sides met proving to be a thrilling scrap (the Swans getting up by three points in that encounter).
The Tigers were up and about following their 37 to 22 win over Tooleybuc Manangatang in the qualifying final the week before.
By contrast, the Swans came into the match with a week's break, but were missing key players in centre Karli McIntyre and player-coach Madeleine Nalder.
McIntyre had been out of action since the Swans' Round 16 fixture against Koondrook Barham, with the Swans losing to Tooleybuc Manangatang immediately the week after -- their first and only loss of the season.
Nalder, on the other hand, has been the Swans' captain-dependable in the backline and has been a driving force in keeping the Swans determined for a fourth straight title.
The Tigers looked to capitalise on the key outs from the get-go and established a six-point buffer at the first break, before extending the lead at every change.
League leading goal scorer Tayla Stanley was on fire, putting on a shooting masterclass with 47 goals for the Tigers, while goal keeper Madeleine Jeans was resilient down back, her season going from strength to strength.
Wing attack Jess Bedggood was also dominant and fed the ball well to both Amy Cadd and Stanley, Tigers coach Tessa Burton said.
Burton said the scoreline didn't reflect how tough and physical the game really was on the court, though.
"At the end of the day it doesn't matter who's out on the court, Swan Hill's spirit is amazing, it doesn't who they play," Burton said.
"We were just fortunate enough to play some really good consistent netball over four quarters and got over the line."
With the Tigers now going straight into the grand final, Burton said her girls would benefit from the break next weekend and hopefully go on to take the prize.
"It's not going to be an easy road to getting that premiership medal but we're willing to put in the hard work and hopefully it's going to pay off for us," she said.
"They're going for four premierships in a row, and I don't think Woorinen have won one since the 80s, so obviously it'll be great to get that for the club but we're trying to focus week by week.
"Fingers crossed. It's nice to see Tooleybuc, Kerang and Woorinen sort of up there. Obviously people have been chasing Swan Hill for years so it's nice to see other teams pushing to vie for that position."
The Swans go on to face Tooleybuc Manangatang in next Saturday's preliminary final.
However, history has shown that the Swans are still in a good position -- the Swans lost to the Tigers in last year's semi final 54 to 53, before going on to beat the Saints (54 to 30) and Tigers (47 to 39) in the last two weeks of September.