Wangaratta Rovers' coach Daryn Cresswell says the controversial decision to send off Stuart Booth for 15 minutes in the second quarter of Saturday's clash against Albury changed the match.
Rovers led by nine points at the 15-minute mark, but trailed by 40 when Booth returned at the three-minute mark of the third.
Booth was reported for allegedly charging Albury's Joel Mackie after he had a short scuffle with Rovers' Sam Carpenter.
Mackie was on top of Carpenter and giant Tigers' ruckman Oliver McEwan also lent his support as Booth 'flew the flag' for his outnumbered team-mate.
While Cresswell refused to be critical of the umpires, he will speak with the AFL North East Border umpire and operations manager.
"I've seen some vision so I'll ask Mark Bywater why he was sent off and see where that takes us," he said.
"We were looking good, we were testing Albury, of course it had an impact.
"Obviously a team that never won a game last year with 17 men chasing Albury around Albury Sportsground (makes it hard)."
An intense character at times, Cresswell was upbeat.
"We don't have a lot of experience, we're a young side, a lot of them were shellshocked to be honest," he said.
"Even when we loaded up behind the footy, they basically didn't know what to do, we hadn't trained to play with 17.
"If we have 18 on the ground we'll be pretty hard to beat, it's about being respected and being hard to beat and I think we showed some really positive signs against the side that's been the best outside the State leagues."
Rovers didn't settle after the incident as Albury kicked the next 14 goals with the visitors snapping the drought early in the final term.
"You look at the grand final last year when (Albury's) Jessy Wilson was sent off, it certainly changes the mindset of how you coach," Albury mentor Peter German said.
"Ultimately they had to try and stem the flow, so they've gone, I guess, ultra negative, and getting numbers back."
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here