Victoria are celebrating winning their way into a third successive Sheffield Shield final though any advantage as likely hosts will be diluted with Alice Springs set to host the decider.
The holders secured their spot in the final with an eight-wicket home win over Western Australia at Traeger Park in Alice Springs on Saturday.
The Vics ran through the Western Australian tail on the final morning, bowling out their opponents for 258 for a deficit of just 82.
Victoria eased to their target for the loss of two wickets, winning with two sessions to spare.
Only a highly improbable set of results can see Victoria tipped out of top spot, leaving NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia vying for the other ticket to the final when the final round commences on Thursday.
With the MCG unavailable and a shortage of venue options in Melbourne, Victoria are poised to take hosting rights for the final to Alice Springs, having played the decider in Hobart two years ago when the MCG was unavailable due to the cricket World Cup.
“It is a really good feeling to be in another Shield final,” Victoria captain Cameron White said.
“We worked really hard in this game and we knew that if we won we would be a really good chance of getting in there, so we really looking forward to another one (final).”
Victoria crashed to an innings defeat against Western Australia just a fortnight ago and they seemed set for another tough challenge midway through day two.
The Vics were up against it with their top-six batsman already out when they passed the Western Australian first innings total.
But the complexion of the match changed as tail-ender Chris Tremain struck an unlikely maiden century before fellow fast bowler James Pattinson ripped through the WA top-order in the second innings.
“It was a hard fought match, with WA playing really well and making us work hard for the victory,” White said.
“There was some significant moments in the game with Chris Tremain on day two, and James Pattinson stole day three.”
Victoria are seeking to become the first team since Queensland in 2001 to win three successive Shield titles.
The Vics have played four home matches in Alice Springs over the past two years, winning three and drawing one.
“Knowing the conditions here, there is a little bit in the wicket early on and then it flattens out,” White said.
The Shield final will be commence on March 26.