WHEN the Tamworth Swans pulled off one of the upsets of the AFL North West season, they also broke one of the longest losing streaks in the competition's history.
Saturday's 14-13-97 to 12-13-85 victory was the Swans' first against the New England Nomads at Bellevue Oval since 2009.
The Swans went on to win the premiership that season, before enduring a decade of rebuilding.
However, Swans coach Paul Kelly believes Saturday's win was a testament to the side's improvement this season.
"To win away from home against a side that's above you on the ladder is a big milestone for our team," Kelly told the Leader.
"I think it will hopefully give them the confidence that they can win on the road and beat the teams above them."
The win was set up in the opening term with the Swans shooting out of the blocks to lead 6-4-40 to 3-2-20.
"In recent weeks we haven't started very well, so starting well on Saturday was a big focus for us," Kelly said.
"Our run off halfback really helped set up that lead for us."
The Swans kept the Nomads at an arm's length for much of the game, despite the forward line efforts of Nomads' stars Angus Quail (five goals) and David Richards (three goals).
"We always knew Quail and Richards were going to kick a few, but I was really happy with how our defenders Jayden Taylor and Liam Dunn shut them down," Kelly said.
"And Josh Cruickshank is only a 16-year-old, playing his first season for us and he did an outstanding job.
"As for Liam, he has been in outstanding touch for us all through the season and we have really missed him when he hasn't been playing."
Despite leading by 11 points at the final break, the Swans were far from safe as the Nomads hit the lead with less than eight minutes remaining.
"The Nomads did come back to get in front, but we were able to kick a goal to give us back the lead," Kelly said.
"However, Richards was running into an open goal, which would have levelled the score, but Josh Cruickshank pulled off a great smother, which led to another goal for us.
"His effort was really the game sealer for us and I was so impressed the boys stood up to win after the were challenged."
Dale Gericke booted six goals in the 12-point win, while Taylor and Dunn were named the Swans' best players.
The Swans will now turn their attention to their upcoming away game against the Moree Suns.