ZACK Pleming has been on the receiving end of plenty of thumpings since he joined Wodonga Saints in 2017.
Before the weekend, Pleming had a miserly two wins in the red, white and black with the club in the midst of a 21-match losing streak.
Since 2008, the perennial whipping boys have collected eight wooden spoons with eighth spot in 2014 their highest finish on the ladder.
But a heart-stopping three point victory over Beechworth on the weekend has given Pleming optimism the Saints can once again start climbing the ladder.
MORE FOOTBALL NEWS
"It was massive and obviously meant a lot to the club," Pleming said.
"It's fair to say the past decade has been a bit of a struggle.
"For me personally, just to see the look on some of the boys' faces after the win and see what it meant to them - that's what meant more to me than anything.
"Just seeing the relief on a lot of blokes faces and getting the reward for the effort for the hard work we have been putting in."
The victory didn't come without some anxious moments as Beechworth mounted a spirited comeback as it just failed to reel in a 32-point three-quarter time deficit.
"Credit to Beechworth, they played a terrific last-quarter," he said.
"In saying that in previous years when we have been in winning positions we would have thrown the match away.
"But to our credit we weathered the storm and our leaders really stood up when it mattered most.
"Thankfully the siren did sound when it do though."
Pleming said the final siren sparked scenes of jubilation usually associated with finals victories.
"It was sheer joy," he said.
"I don't know if you have seen the footage on Facebook but the supporters that ran onto the ground after the final siren - you could tell it meant a lot to them.
"I just went to my closet teammate and hugged him.
"I was talking to one of my teammates after the match.
"He was saying in the last five minutes when the match was up for grabs you could hear the oohs and the aahs from the crowd and we haven't had that before.
"There was a bit of atmosphere and that's why I think this year is different to previous years.
"We have got new guernseys now and gone for a fresh look.
"The club has probably had a bad reputation in the past but with the new jumpers it's like a fresh start and we want to create a better culture.
"The wheel is turning."
Pleming paid credit to co-coaches Gerard Midson and Jesse Wellington who had provided the players with self-belief.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here