Benalla suffered its second close loss in as many weeks, with a final-quarter blitz against Shepparton just falling short on Saturday.
The Saints trailed the Bears by nine goals at the top of the fourth quarter and came out firing to win the quarter 11-5 only to fall three agonising goals short of an upset.
It was a far cry from the Saints' previous match up with the Bears, thoroughly beaten by 35 goals in May.
The narrow loss follows the Saints' four-goal defeat to Echuca the round before, and with both losses coming against top six sides, it’s a strong indicator of the Saints' rapid improvement in the latter part of the season.
Benalla’s Grace Amarant, Kylie Relf and Chloe Hill were the standout performers against the Bears, while Ash Cann and Laura Scott proved to be the winning side’s most valuable.
The Saints will have one more chance to claim the elusive win they’ve been searching — after five straight losses — when they come up against Rochester at Benalla Showgrounds on Saturday.
Rochester took the points against Benalla in round seven, besting the Saints by three goals.
But with nothing left to loss, the Tigers should be well aware the Saints will come out firing.
• In Benalla’s other results, B-grade fell by 13 goals to Shepparton, while B-reserve suffered a major defeat, 23-78.
In juniors, Benalla’s under-17s couldn’t get the job done and were beaten 26-48, while under-15 came up against a stronger Bears outfit and lost, 14-80.
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