Gunnedah produced a stunning final quarter fightback at No.1 Oval on Saturday to pull off a miracle win over the Tamworth Swans and give their finals hopes another shot in the arm.
Up by five goals at three-quarter time after a strong third quarter, the Swans looked to have the game in their control. But the Dogs rallied, and with just over eight minutes remaining had all but erased the Swans' lead, Mitch Swain's snap behind with around seven to play putting them on what they thought was level terms but turned out to be in front.
There was initial confusion about the result with the scoreboard showing both teams on 81-points. But the umpires had the Bulldogs ahead by one.
A proud Dogs coach Andy Mack admitted post-match he had a pretty good idea the score was wrong.
"We knew on the bench... Ryan Cooper took a mark on the line that they called a behind on the scoreboard," he said.
"(But) It was probably a good thing from our end that we had the guys look up and see it was level.
"We might have changed a couple of things had we known we were in front, and probably might have got a bit nervous instead of keeping playing the way we were. We were attacking the footy and that was all that mattered. We kept having forward entries."
The Dogs trailed virtually all match but never felt they were out of it.
"We've always finished games out strong so the belief was still there," Mack said.
"We had a bit of a downhill run, the scoring end towards the pool, so we just had to get a bit more clean footy going forward and we were able to do that."
He had spoken to them at the break about just taking it one goal at a time.
"I just said to the guys we'll get our first goal and then we'll get our second and let it progress from there," he said.
"It wasn't so much we had to score five or six goals, it was just a matter of lets get one, lets get two and take it in small steps. We had 25 minutes to do it."
They reeled off six while holding the Swans to just three behinds.
Skipper Ben Maher and Andrew George were both huge for them in that final quarter. Mack also noted the efforts of Ryan Smith on the wing, ruckman Nick Ferguson, Cooper at the back and Mark Ewington up front, the latter booting a game-high five goals.
Swans' backman Jayden Taylor said they were all feeling pretty deflated after letting another win slip through their fingers.
"That's three (games) in four weeks where we've been leading by heaps and lost," he said.
One of the Swans' best, when asked about the final quarter, Taylor said: "We get a bit panicky and we lose the structure, and it's hard to rebuild when the other team's getting a good run".
Gavin Knee and Kim Farrell led the goal charge for them with three apiece.
It was a special day across the competition with the AFL North West commemorating indigenous round.
In Tamworth, prior to the men's clash the men's and women's teams from both clubs were involved in a smoking ceremony led by Len Waters.
Taylor echoed those sentiments.
"It was pretty special," he said.
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