North Heidelberg 1 have kept their unbeaten streak alive in Section 1, but they were made to work for their five-goal victory in a hard-fought contest against Heat 1 at La Trobe Sports Stadium.
Heat rallied hard all night, making multiple efforts gain an advantage over the Bulldogs, but the ladder leaders absorbed the pressure from their opponents to prevail 45-40.
The Bulldogs are now all but certain to finish on top of the Section 1 table while Heat, who have lost their past two matches, will need to reset quickly with games against Ivanhoe 1 and Heidelberg 1 to wrap up the regular season.
Paris Bosschieter and Georgia Rogers combined well in the goal shooting circle for the Bulldogs whilst star centre Chloe Lambert consistently fed the ball into the circle.
For Heat, Simone Turner and Alana Keith worked hard against the two North Heidelberg shooters. Tahnysha Salanoa also consistently finished inside the shooting circle when given the opportunity.
To start the match there were plenty of turnovers for both sides, with only a few goals in the first few minutes. However, after that frenetic start a free-flowing contest followed.
The top-of-the-table Bulldogs got on top in the final third of the term, taking a six-goal lead into the first break.
Heat were able to slightly cut back the margin in the beginning of the second term before the Bulldogs responded on the scoreboard.
Following that brief North Heidelberg burst, it was again, all Heat as they slowly chewed into the lead the Bulldogs had built in the first quarter.
After levelling things up with only a few minutes left in the term, two late Bulldogs goals ensure they kept an advantage at the main break.
The ladder leaders continued to build on that momentum at the start of the third quarter before Heat, as they had done all night, started reducing the deficit bit by bit.
Heat had the momentum, and their pressure allowed them to take a two-goal lead heading into three quarter time.
Despite the incredible work from Heat to gain the margin they did, the Bulldogs’ poise started to have an influence on a hotly contested game and it wasn’t long before the lead was theirs again.
North Heidelberg pushed the margin back out to six goals before Heat made one final charge in the late stages of the match and while their efforts were gallant, it wasn’t enough to topple the Bulldogs, ultimately going down by five goals.