IF Sale City hadn’t already stamped their authority on the North Gippsland netball season, they did on Saturday.

A 45-43 win against Heyfield sees the Bulldogs sitting four points ahead of the Roogirls on the ladder.

Sale City were the fastest out of the blocks. Isla McCarthy fed the ball to Indigo Waugh from the centre pass as Charlotte Ronchi led from under the ring, confidently putting the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.

But the Roogirls were hot on their tails. Wing attack Jemma Birss was strong for Heyfield as she worked the ball into the goal third. Under the post, Phoebe Escreet and Millie Lamb went to great heights to get their hands on the ball, with high lob passes or low bounce passes necessary tactics to keep the ball away from Sale City defenders Ebony Lee and Ciara Fitt.

A slew of goals for both sides in the first quarter was a preview of the competitiveness with which the game would play out. Sale City entered the second quarter in the lead by two points, 14-12.

As the game wore on, the defender’s technique was something to behold. Measured, composed, and at full stretch, Fitt for Sale City and Jayde Parsons for Heyfield used their vision to take graceful intercepts.

Likewise, players flew under the post. Escreet was dominant in the air for Heyfield. At the other end, Sale City’s goal shooter, Madeleine Rodwell, used every inch of her lofty frame to wrap her hands around the ball and drag it into her body.

One point separated the teams at halftime, and Sale City was still leading.

As the game unfolded at Gordon Street Reserve, the crowd, swaddled in warm blankets and jackets, nearly forgot the cold. Their cheers grew louder and louder as pressure mounted.

The second half saw a lift in intensity, desperation, and pace of play. The Roogirls hit the front early, and a terrific interception by Parsons saw Heyfield force a turnover and capitalise. However, their two-goal lead was short-lived as Fitt broke the Roogirls’ momentum with an intercept. Sale City moved the ball fast through the midcourt as Waugh, McCarthy, and Lee worked together.

Sale City had kept their noses in front by three-quarter time, 35-34.

The Bulldogs were the first to 40 points with a goal from Rodwell. The Roogirls looked desperate to convert, and with the crowd urging them on, they did. Intensity mounted, and while the Roogirls missed opportunities, Sale City were cleaner. The Bulldogs played with immense pressure, ultimately forcing turnovers when Heyfield players failed to find an opening.

At any point in the game between the two best sides in the league, predicting the eventual winner was difficult. However, throughout momentum shifts, some missed opportunities, and a hard-fought battle, Sale City ended Round 8 as the only team to have won every round.

A rare draw was between Gormandale and Yallourn Yallourn North. At the same time, another close game saw Rosedale defeat their immediate ladder leader, Glengarry, by two points – 48 to 46.

Churchill triumphed over Woodside 58 to 50, and Cowwarr was the convincing winner of their clash with Yarram, winning by 29 points, 59 to 30.

Traralgon Tyers United had the bye.

WITH every round Stratford plays, Ash Higgins’ Swans go from strength to strength.

Under relentless pressure from their determined opponents, Orbost Snowy Rovers, Stratford’s resolve could have faltered. However, as the final siren sounded, the scoreboard revealed a thrilling victory for the red and white, with the Swans triumphing by just one point.

The final scoreline (45-44) of Stratford’s home game against Orbost Snowy Rovers in Round 8 of East Gippsland netball highlights the Swans’ toughness and grit.

Impeccable defence was critical on the day, and Ava Buckland was a force for the Swans. Under the ring, Buckland and trusty goal defender Nellie Hunt buoyed Stratford.

Alannah Boyd and Sarah Bishop were efficient through the midcourt, helping the Swans clinch their fifth win of the season.

AT home, Boisdale-Briagolong were collapsed by Wy Yung.

Perhaps an unexpected result given the Bombers were ladder leaders at the start of Round 8, the 41 to 34 final score was certainly deflating.

Caitlin Wright and Samantha Churches were strong for the Tigers, defending the Bombers scoring territory with tenacity. Giving Mollie Huts and Rachel Weatherley a hard time under the post, Churches and Wright did their bit and more because shutting down the Bombers’ fast offence has been a tough task this season.

The loss sees the Bombers relinquish the top spot to Lucknow only a week after claiming the position. Now tied for points with Wy Yung and Stratford, Boisdale-Briagolong will be looking for an easy win come Round 9.

Lindenow wiped Paynesville off the court in a 46-point victory, 75-29. Meanwhile, Lucknow continued its top form against Lakes Entrance, winning 44-32.

WITH every round Stratford plays in East Gippsland netball, Ash Higgins’ Swans go from strength to strength.

Under relentless pressure from their determined opponents, Orbost Snowy Rovers, Stratford’s resolve could have faltered. However, as the final siren sounded, the scoreboard revealed a thrilling victory for the red and white, with the Swans triumphing by just one point.

The final score line, 45-44, of Stratford’s home game against Orbost Snowy Rovers in Round 8 of East Gippsland netball highlights the Swans’ toughness and grit.

Impeccable defence was critical on the day, and Ava Buckland was a force for the Swans. Under the ring, Buckland and trusty goal defender Nellie Hunt buoyed Stratford.

Alannah Boyd and Sarah Bishop were efficient through the midcourt, helping the Swans clinch their fifth win of the season.

At home, Boisdale-Briagolong were collapsed by Wy Yung.

Perhaps an unexpected result given the Bombers were ladder leaders at the start of Round 8, the 41 to 34 final score was certainly deflating.

Caitlin Wright and Samantha Churches were strong for the Tigers, defending the Bombers scoring territory with tenacity. Giving Mollie Huts and Rachel Weatherley a hard time under the post, Churches and Wright did their bit and more because shutting down the Bombers’ fast offence has been a tough task this season.

The loss sees the Bombers relinquish the top spot to Lucknow only a week after claiming the position. Now tied for points with Wy Yung and Stratford, Boisdale-Briagolong will be looking for an easy win come Round 9.

Lindenow wiped Paynesville off the court in a 46-point victory, 75-29. Meanwhile, Lucknow continued its top form against Lakes Entrance, winning 44-32.

ROUND 8 of Gippsland League netball was displayed a fascinating collections of games that both reaffirmed the sides aiming their sights deeper and beyond the home and away season, as well as gave hope to those teams sitting idly just outside of that elite bracket.

Morwell secured their third win on the year, beating Sale on their home court in an entertaining 40-38 duel that now puts the Tigers just one game back of fifth, just behind Wonthaggi and Bairnsdale.

The Tigers held on, off of the back of an exceptional first half that has them up by 11 goals before the Magpies rallied in the last stretch and kept the visitors to just 11 goals total in the last half. Yet it still wasn’t enough.

Tiffany Boatman led the Tigers’ charge with 28 goals with assistance from Isabella Bettridge who scored 13, whilst Sale had Kate Van der Voort score 28 goals and Tash Bedggood with 10.

Traralgon demolished the bottom-placed Eagles, 79-26, which puts the Maroons fourth on the ladder.

The Maroons had an even scoring load in the blowout that included 38 goals from Grace Van Tillburg, 23 from Sophie Lecchino and 18 from best-on-court performer, Cassidy Smith.

Moe remain undefeated after a 64-54 showdown against Warragul on the Gulls’ Western Park Court.

Bairnsdale, away from home, edged by Leongatha in a two-goal win, 46-44, as the Redlegs make the climb back into the top five.

The Parrots led at every turn, and were up as much as five goals at three quarter time before Bairnsdale outscored Leongatha 17-10 in the final term to secure the win.

Drouin downed Wonthaggi, 51-44, as the fourth of five winners of the round to win away and to keep the Hawks on steady pace amongst the top three of the competition.