CULCAIRN breathed new life into its faltering season with a thrilling five-point win over Osborne at Osborne on Saturday.
The Lions’ finals hopes were on the line and that provided the spur for them to prevail in a low-scoring affair, 9.10 (64) to 7.17 (59).
The timely win was their first against a top-six side this season and highlighted the even nature of the competition.
Osborne paid a hefty price for inaccurate kicking for goal and trailed by 20 points at half-time after booting a woeful 1.9.
As expected, the Cats rallied in the second half to get within a kick late in the final quarter.
Livewire Ryan Dean bobbed up with the match-winning goal for the visitors with less than three minutes to play before Jamie Parr kicked the final goal to get the Cats to within five points.
Culcairn coach Chad Hamblin was relieved to get his team’s season back on track.
The Lions now sit seventh with a 3-3 record and winnable matches against Jindera and Holbrook after this week’s interleague bye.
“We will take a lot of confidence out of the victory,” Hamblin said.
“Knocking off Osborne at Osborne is rare.
“The ground is usually a graveyard for visiting teams.
“We needed to hit back after to losses to Howlong and Billabong Crows — it just shows how even the competition is.
“Anyone from first down to tenth can win on their day.”
Hamblin said the most pleasing aspect was how his charges responded when challenged in the final term.
“They are a young, fit side and we knew they would come hard at us,” he said.
“But we have been working hard on the track and tried to limit turnovers and just be a lot cleaner under pressure.
“Those are the sort of things we have worked on and was probably the difference this week.
Culcairn was buoyed before the match with the inclusion of tall marking target Andrew Barned and James McNeil for their first games of the season.
Barned impressed with three goals alongside Chris Willis.
And, with James Morris, they gave the Lions a three-pronged attack that stretched the Cats’ defence.
McNeil was also lively in his first senior match and first game of football in more than five years.
Defender Will Haines was also instrumental opposed to McAlister. He kept the Cats dangerman goalless for the first time this season.
In other matches Murray Magpies remain in sixth position after a hard fought 21-point win over Billabong Crows.
Brock-Burrum overcame a half-time deficit to overrun CDHBU by nine points while Lockhart bounced back with a 33-point win over Holbrook.
Howlong coach Joel Price kicked six goals in the Spiders 125-point thumping of Walla.