The Eden Tigerettes will have to take the long road into the Group 16 grand final.
The women’s league-tag outfit suffered a come-from-behind loss to the Bombala High Heelers 22-12 in the major semi-final in Bega on Sunday.
Now the club will face off against the Bega Chicks at McKay Park in Batemans Bay this Sunday to play for the grand final berth against the Heelers.
It was a crushing loss for the Tigerettes, who have been one of the dominant forces in the competition this year, but particularly because the team led 12-0 shortly before half-time at the Bega Recreation Ground on Sunday.
Eden bolter Ebony Pointon had made the first mark on the scoreboard with a blinding run up the right edge, while Keiarna Mitchell made no mistake with the kick to take charge 6-0 early on.
Late in the half it was league prodigy Tamika Millard out of the number four jumper who cut a great line through the Bombala defenders to dash about 40 metres to score cleanly.
Again Mitchell provided the goods with the boot and the Tigerettes looked like they were off to the races.
However, with less than 10 minutes in the first half, Lucy Sellers broke through for Bombala with Kayley Keavey hitting the kick to trail 12-6.
Just three minutes before the half-time siren, Bombala centre Amy Stone burst through a gap near the left flank to score, taking it 10-12 into the break.
Building from their late momentum, the High Heelers began shutting down Eden’s runners, while capitalising on their own chances.
Sellers was again on the ball to score an early try, before the returned Georgie Clarke sparked the Bombala attack out of the number 11 jumper to a try.
Keavey proved accurate with her boot and the Heelers were in front 22-12 with about 20 minutes to play.
The Tigerettes mounted some increasingly desperate attacking raids and came close repeatedly.
However, the Bombala defence proved stoic, while some handling errors proved costly with the Heelers slowing down their sets and doing much to control the ball.
Pointon and Millard nearly broke through on a few occasions, but time ran short as the siren sounded on a defeat sending the Eden roster to a second chance draw against the Chicks.
The Tigerettes will get the chance to down Bega and secure a grand final berth on Sunday at McKay park with play to go ahead at 10.30am.
Fans are encouraged to cheer the girls on.