Coolamon kept their finals dream alive with a thrilling two-point win over Leeton-Whitton on Saturday.
The Hoppers breathed life into the final round of the home and away season by upsetting the Crows on their home turf, 11.8 (74) to 10.12 (72) at Leeton Showground.
Coolamon made the most of a strong breeze to come from 18 points behind at three-quarter-time to down the Crows by two points.
It keeps Coolamon’s faint finals hopes alive and turns two final round games from dead rubbers to fixtures of extreme importance.
The Hoppers, who now only trail the fifth-placed Crows on percentage, need to down third-placed Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong next Saturday to be any chance of finals.
They will also need seventh-placed Turvey Park to upset Leeton-Whitton at Maher Oval.
Coolamon coach Connor Neyland admitted finals are still unlikely but was pleased to keep the dream alive.
“It’s a tiny bit of hope. We need a miracle but there’s a tiny bit of hope there,” Neyland said.
“We’re struggling, as far as injuries wise, we have all year but everyone keeps giving 100 per cent so it’s good.
“It’s a bloody shame we’ve never had a full side or we’ve never played the same team two weeks in a row.
“Everyone keeps giving 100 per cent, and everyone keeps talking about doing that so it’s good that it’s happening.
“I can’t really fault the blokes. (The win) keeps everyone motivated, knowing that something could happen.”
Neyland said his midfield led the way for the Hoppers.
Nick Pleming, Mitch McKelvie and Max Hillier were inspirational, while Josh Buchanan had a big influence with three goals.
With the first-quarter breeze, Leeton-Whitton piled on five unanswered goals to establish an early lead. The visitors responded with six of their own in the second term to be back within 10 points at the main break.
It was what happened after there that proved the difference, according to Neyland.
“The third quarter won it for us. We kept them to one goal and they had the breeze,” he said.
“That put us within three goals at three-quarter-time and it was a five or six goal wind.
“We kicked a couple and got momentum. Our on-ballers, they basically won the game for us.
“We did well to end up holding them in the end. It was down in their 50 for a while too.”
Bryce O’Garey made a strong return from injury and was the Crows’ best. He was well supported by Tom Meline, Cooper Sharman and Ryan Dunn.
Leeton-Whitton only need to beat Turvey Park next weekend to book an elimination final clash with MCUE.