Altona has moved to the Bowls Victoria premier division summit in the most unorthodox fashion.

The As were the major beneficiaries of a penalty handed down to Mentone for using an unregistered player.

Mentone was deducted all of its points and tumbled to the bottom of the ladder, leaving the As to freely swoop on top spot.

A’s co-coach Ben Loughlin was not exactly shouting from the rooftops about his team’s new spot on the ladder.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet to be honest,” he said. “It’s good to be up there and we win out of the re-allocation of points, but I suppose you’d rather win every game and get up there on your merits.”

Altona has been one of the form sides of the competition after a slow start.

The As opened up the season with just one win from the first three games, but had reeled off three wins over the next four games.

The only blemish for Altona in that time was a thrilling three-shot loss to Mentone, but they ended up getting the points from that game as a result of Mentone’s penalty.

“I think we’ve won four games on our merits and they were four really good wins,” Loughlin said.

“We’ve had three close losses against good sides and under 10 shots all of them, so we’ve been in every game and we know we’re good enough to compete with everyone.

“It would just be nice to win some more of those close games instead of being on the wrong side of the ledger.”

Altona knows its general form needs to improve in the second half of the season if it is to keep hold of its lofty position and challenge for the premiership.

The As are aiming for a top-two finish and it is well within reach, but they are yearning for a little more consistency in the close games.

The big local derby against Yarraville-Footscray is on the agenda on home soil this Saturday at Civic Parade.

Loughlin said the battle of the two western suburbs clubs holds historical importance.

“There’s been a lot of players go from club to club over the years and we’re only down the road from each other,” he said.

“Every time we play Yarraville-Footscray, it’s very competitive and it’s a big rivalry.”

Meanwhile, Altona stars Loughlin, Nathan Wilson and Dane McKinnon will represent Victoria in a five test series against Tasmania at the Deer Park Bowls Club starting today.

The state series will run through till Friday.