Coolamon saved their season with an important 19-point win over Wagga Tigers at Robertson Oval on Saturday.
The Hoppers were 22 points down at half-time but produced a big second half to claim a crucial four points, 16.13 (109) to 13.12 (90).
Coolamon kicked the first five goals after half-time in a 12-minute blitz that found them the front as they went into three-quarter-time with a six-point lead.
With the game still in the balance, the Hoppers booted the first two goals of the last quarter to give them some breathing space and they went on to record a 19-point win.
While it was still somewhat unconvincing, it was an important win for the Hoppers.
After consecutive 100-point losses at home, it was a strong response, especially after being seriously challenged by Tigers.
First year Coolamon coach Connor Neyland was relieved to be back on track.
“It’s good to finally get the points on the board,” Neyland said.
"We started off really good then we got ourselves in a situation but the boys showed a lot of character to fight back.”
Coolamon’s midfield led the turnaround. They got right on top of clearances and got the ball going the Hoppers way.
Neyland was pleased to see his team turn it around after telling a few home truths at half-time.
“We just stopped. Our intensity stopped, our voice stopped, we were second to the footy and giving away free kicks,” Neyland said.
“We told ourselves to be first to the ball, and we did, and the free kicks went out of it and it flowed on from there.
“That’s the best our midfield’s been all year. But that’s what happens when you get (Mitch McKelvie) and Luke Redfern back, they’re good players.”
Nick Pleming was the pick of Coolamon’s midfield. He worked hard all day but won plenty of clearances in the all-important third term, while Josh Buchanan was very good at centre-half-forward and Matt McGowan was dangerous and kicked 4.4.
Nick Cooke bagged five goals and was Tigers’ best.
Neyland said it had been a tough period but was pleased to be out the other side.
“We’ve had a bit of a run with injuries but we’re slowly starting to get a few back and what not,” he said.
“Our midfield with Nick and Mitch McKelvie, Luke Redfern, they were all outstanding. If we didn’t have them today we wouldn’t have won.
“We’re just trying to keep a bit of a fun feel towards it, work through that period and now we switch on again.
“(The win) just builds a bit of confidence. We know we’ve got a long way to go to keep up with Griffith and Gullie and that but it’s just a bit of confidence and will get some momentum going.”