If you compared the senior football and A Grade netball ladders at the end of round 14 to the end of round 13, you would observe only one positional change to either.
However, the story in between tells a very different tale, with round 14 throwing up some significant results in the context of the Alex Scott and Staff premiership season.
Much of the drama took place at Inverloch, where the visiting Bunyip sides stunned the home club on both playing arenas.
It all kicked off on the netball court, where the Yips edged a see-sawing encounter 48-45.
Once again it was the Jasmin Mackie show, with the star goaler single-handedly outscoring the home side by netting 46 of her side’s 48 goals in a win that helped the Yips leapfrog the Sea Eagles back into the top five.
It was a similar story on the football field.
The Bulldogs trailed at every change only to rattle off four goals to one in the final term to win 12.7 (79) to 10.8 (68).
The in-form Cley Bertoncello was the hero up top, with a round-high seven goals in tough conditions for forwards, while ever-present leader Brad Walker, ruckman Chris Kelf and fit-again swingman Aaron Paxton were among the other standouts.
Ben Ross also returned to the line-up with young gun Heath Morgan-Morris recalled from the thirds and veteran Robert Hughes suiting up for his first senior game of the season.
Tall defender Callum Cusack and wingers Dylan Clark and Corey Casey battled hard for the Sea Eagles, who regained Michael Eales and handed a senior debut to 17-year-old Will Clarkson but added senior regulars Lachlan Scott and Adam Cross to an ongoing list of outs.
The result didn’t earn the sixth-placed Bulldogs any new rungs on the ladder but moved them within percentage of the Sea Eagles who lost fourth spot to Koo Wee Rup, which stunned the previously undefeated Cora Lynn.
The Demons were jumped early, trailing by 17 points at quarter time, but responded superbly to control the next three quarters and record a potentially season-defining 14.8 (92) to 9.14 (68) victory.
Jay Wells was at his showtime best with five goals, with bulldozing midfielder Joel Gibson, recalled winger Liam Hetherington and human battering ram Mitch Collins among the standouts.
The Demons also had to do it without senior mainstays David Collins, Rory Connelly, Caleb Milojevic and Xavier Quigley, with future stars Archie Whitta and Nick Prowd well and truly holding their own.
The Cobras regained co-captain Tim Payne, Brady White and Brayden Weller for the clash, while Michael Duiker made his first senior appearance since returning to the club, with Casey Demons-committed Jaxon Briggs the only forced change.
However, with spearheads Nathan Gardiner, Nathan Langley, Troy Tharle and Travis Woodfield held to just three goals between them, the usually free-scoring visitors were held to their second-lowest total of the season.
They will also be sweating on the fitness of White and Langley, who were unable to run out the game.
It was a dream start to a nightmarish block of games for Koo Wee Rup in which it meets the top three teams in succession.
Next up is Phillip Island and should the Demons topple the unbeaten ladder leader and reigning premier, their title credentials will become a hot topic.
Koo Wee Rup’s A Grade side kept the pressure on the sides above them, with a hard-fought 38-32 defeat of the Cobras on the netball court.
Melissa Filarski buried 24 shots and Mariah Bell 12 to keep the Demons within four points of fifth spot.
Garfield came within a whisker of their first win of the campaign, eventually falling short 37-33 against Phillip Island.
The Stars led by two goals at half-time and were still within two at the final change, but the Island had a touch too much class, led by goaler Janelle Smyth’s 20 goals.
It was a dirty day for the Stars on the football field, with the home side totally outclassed by an unforgiving Bulldogs outfit.
Billy Taylor, Marcus Wright and Brendan Kimber were among an abundance of winners across the ground in the 15.12 (102) to 1.3 (9) demolition which all but dashed Garfield’s finals hopes.
The Stars are now two games and significant percentage behind the three sides standing between them and a place in the top five with four rounds to play.
James McKellar, Tanner Stanton and Rhys Murphy toughed it out for the Stars, while Sam Batson kicked their only goal of the game in his return from injury.
The other side in the top five race, Nar Nar Goon, saw off Dalyston 8.7 (55) to 2.8 (20.
Troy McDermott claimed three goals, with Mat Slattery, Trent Noy and Troy Toussaint among those to impress.
Luke Wakefield, Clay Tait and Dean Wylie were prominent for the Magpies.
Tooradin Dalmore continued to tick the boxes with a 10.14 (74) to 5.5 (35) win against Kilcunda Bass.
Julian Suarez starred with three goals with Brad Lenders and Jake Kelly also prominent.
Jimmy Phillips, Brad Aldwell and Mitch Tivendale were best for the Panthers, who stuck to their task admirably throughout.
Korumburra Bena registered its fourth win of the campaign with a tense 5.6 (36) to 3.11 (29) win against Warragul Industrials at Western Park.
Martin Snooks, Ash Snooks and Jasper Macri led the way for the visitors, who led at every change, while Jamie Cann’s three goals were decisive.
Tyson Bale, Michael Ablett and Wilson Mcgillivray were best for Dusties.
On the netball courts, Dalyston was too strong for Nar Nar Goon, taking the points 50-37 on the back of strong shooting from Jarney Thomas.
The result left the Goon fourth and kept the Magpies within two games of ladder leader Tooradin Dalmore, which defeated a spirited Kilcunda Bass side 47-21.
A strong second half led third placed Korumburra Bena to victory against Warragul Industrials.
Chloe Hogg put up a game-high 31 goals in the 51-39 win which left the Dusties three games adrift of finals with four games to play.
Images courtesy of Star News Group.