Culcairn held their nerve to snap a five-game losing streak on a nail-biting afternoon in Urana.
They beat Billabong Crows 11.10 (76) to 9.7 (61) in a game which was in doubt right to the closing stages.
With just seven points in it at the final change, it was always going to come down to who wanted it most and the Lions had the edge when it mattered.
"It's been seven weeks since we won and even the early wins didn't feel as good as that one," Culcairn coach Craig Bosley said.
"Billabong Crows are a tough team, travelling out here to play, so you're happy to get the points when you walk away from this place.
"It was a bit of an arm-wrestle and we had to work harder than they did.
"In the end, our desperation in the forward line paid off with Adam Prior and Jack Chesser kicking nine between them.
"I'm very happy with that result. This gets us back on track and we're desperate to get a few more wins on top of this one."
With both teams starting the day 2-5, it was no surprise to see the first half littered with errors and a touch of anxiety on both sides.
Chesser kicked the Lions' first five goals of the afternoon, the last of those the most impressive as he took a juggling one-handed mark off-balance and under pressure from a couple of Crows defenders.
Josh Evans, among Billabong Crows' most impressive players, booted two in the second quarter to send the home side in just a goal behind.
But whatever Bosley said at half-time clearly worked as Culcairn came out flying.
They kicked three straight, two of them going Prior's way during a 10-minute burst which looked to have put the Lions in the box seat.
However, the Crows refused to roll over and once again it was Evans who inspired the fightback with two more goals including a fantastic half-volley which had him wheeling away in pure delight.
But a superb tackle from Simon McGleish in Culcairn's forward 50 set the tone for the last quarter as the visitors cranked up the pressure.
As Bosley said, it was pure desperation and not always pretty to watch but the Lions kept their hosts penned in for long spells.
Nicholas Morris, who finished with three majors, looked to have kicked the Crows back into contention but late goals from Prior and James Pitson put the game beyond them.
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"Our endeavour was good but at crucial times in the game, where we had control of the footy, we turned it over," Crows coach Jason Kerr lamented.
"When you do that, in close games, you're going to lose more than you win.
"That was a game we should have won, there's no doubt about that. I'm not making any excuses at all.
"We've got a young team but we need to make sure we keep practising hard and making sure we make good decisions and execute our possessions.
"Losing games should really hurt. Hopefully that helps our resolve in weeks to come."
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