THE Wagga Tigers have delivered a strong message they won't relinquish their Riverina League netball dynasty without a fight after a dominant 55-42 win over top two side Mangoplah-Cookardina United-Eastlakes on Saturday.
Searching for a fourth straight premiership, the win allowed the Tigers to draw level with the Goannas on the ladder, and move just two points behind leaders Collingullie-Glenfield Park.
The accuracy of teenage Tigers shooters Leila Wadley and Asha Murphy never allowed MCUE into the contest as the race heats up to secure the minor premiership and the first week off in the finals series.
It was revenge for the Tigers after they went down by four to the Goannas earlier this season.
"It was probably one of the better games we've played all year," Tigers captain Jess Allen said.
"I think the top three are pretty close now so if we can keep racking up those wins, hopefully we can even push for top spot.
"We played really consistently across the whole game and our shooters were really accurate, which made every turnover we caused count."
Allen said sending a message to the top two teams they're still a force to be reckoned with was incentive before the clash.
"It was motivation, but we also knew we were underdogs coming into the game," she said.
"We were focusing on our game, but it was good to play one of the top two teams and really rise to the level we hope to be at around this point of the season.
"We were counting on the younger girls to step up this year, and they have.
"Because we've still got a couple of older girls in there as well, they're really keen to learn and take on board what we're trying to teach them.
"It's a really young competition across the board this year, which is really exciting."
Goannas assistant coach Lisa Reynoldson said they failed to find a way to break down the Tigers' unique defensive strategy.
"They play a different defence to other teams in the league, they play zone and we didn't adjust well enough to that," she said.
"It's something we'll work on before we play them again.
"They were a very strong team all over the court on Saturday, and we didn't play as well as we have the last couple of weeks."
In other matches, Griffith kept the heat on Coolamon in the race for a top five spot with a thrilling 41-40 road win over Turvey Park, the Hoppers comfortably beat Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong 54-35 and Leeton Whitton disposed of Narrandera 62-37.