The NWFL finals picture became clearer with the top five places effectively secured after round 17 action on Saturday.
Wynyard kept their hopes of a home qualifying final alive and ended Ulverstone’s chances of finishing on top of the ladder with a 15.11 (101) to 13.14 (92) win at Wynyard Recreation Reserve.
Neither side could break the game open in the first quarter with two goals each and the Robins taking a two-point lead into the first change.
The Cats had the best of the second quarter and claimed a three-point advantage at the long break, before the hosts extended their lead to seven points at three-quarter time.
The game got tight through the middle of the quarter with the Robins closing the gap to two points, but the Cats steadied through a Jorden Englund snap and stout defending.
Caleb Alford was critical for the Cats in defence and was named the best on the ground.
Fellow defenders Liam Smith and Jacob Handley, Englund (three goals), Sam Douglas, Tylor Bakes, Nick Hall (three goals) and Gregg Sharman (three goals).
Tim Mee was the Robins’ best, while Jack Dilger, Sam Brett, Manassah Dare-Bonnici (five goals), Travis Davies and Luke Dyson played key roles.
The Burnie Dockers were the beneficiary from the Cats’ win, with their 15.19 (109) to 6.14 (60) victory over Devonport at West Park effectively locking away the minor premiership and a first week bye in the finals.
The youthful Magpies battled hard in the first half, leading by one point at quarter-time and only trailed by 11 points at half-time.
But the Dockers straightened up after the break to open up a 31-point lead at three-quarter-time and extended the margin out to 59 points at the final siren.
The win also secured the Dockers the Cameron Baird Shield, which honours Corporal Cameron Baird VC, who was killed while on duty in Afghanistan in 2013.
Kade Munday was named as the Dockers best and Isaac Plant, Brodie Knight, Bailey Boag (three goals) and Harry Walters (four goals) were influential.
Boag was also rewarded for his selflessness in the game, being chosen as the Cameron Baird Medalist by the RSL voting panel.
Quade Byard was the Magpies best and Liam Williams, Toby Enniss, Kurt Mason, Phillip Crowden and Marc Harris battled hard.
Latrobe were made work hard after half-time to claim a 13.21 (99) to 9.5 (59) win over Penguin at Dial Park.
The Two Blues were able to reduce the margin to 10 points in the third quarter, but the class of the Demons proved too strong with 5.6 to 2.1 in the final quarter.
Scott McCrossen was the Demons best and Tyler Dell led the forwards with four goals, while Jake Wray-McCann was the Two Blues best and Nathan Russell finished with three goals.
East Devonport were able to hold off finals bound Circular Head with a 11.7 (73) to 9.10 (64) win over t Girdlestone Park.
Coach Nick Milbourne led the Swans with five goals.