The Moree Suns kicked off their 2019 season on Saturday, going up against a very strong Inverell Saints outfit.
While they eventually went down 20-20-140 to 6-9-45, there were still plenty of positives to take out of the match, most of all a fourth quarter in which the Suns outscored the 2018 premiers.
It took the Saints 10 minutes to slot their first major but once they found their groove, they proved very hard to stop.
The Saints dominated the inside 50s and while the Suns had a few attacking opportunities, they were only able to kick one goal as they went into the half time break down 78 to 10.
The Saints didn't stop coming in the second half, but the Suns rallied in the last quarter to outscore them 21-18, to keep the deficit under 100 points.
It's a far cry from the last time the sides met, where the Suns were defeated by more than 200 points.
"It was much closer than what the scoreline reflected," coach Eric Faulkner said.
"We asked them not to give up, and everyone played right through to the end.
"We restarted at every quarter which we wanted to do and we came out firing at the start of every quarter but just dropped off towards the end.
"They put quick goals on the board in each quarter, but like I said we fought back."
Faulkner gave a lot of credit to the juniors who stepped up and performed extremely well, particularly Montgomery and Danny Brown.
"We had five kids playing, they all doubled up from their juniors game. It's just a shame they couldn't run out the game," he said.
"Our two best on ground (Montgomery and Brown) were juniors that had doubled up which was just amazing."
With the Suns fielding a very new look side in 2019, the team knows there is still room for improvement.
"We just lacked a little polish," Faulkner said.
"The right stuff was there, the structure was there, but we just lacked a little bit of that polish.
"With that, a couple of times the ball would've bounced our way which would've led to goals for us instead of them."
In the under 17s, the Suns defeated the Saints, Nick Fisher leading the way with 10 goals in a 16-16-112 to 5-7-37 win.