Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong kept their premiership dream alive with a gritty come from behind win over Leeton-Whitton on Sunday.
The Lions set up a tantalising preliminary final showdown with Griffith next Sunday after downing the Crows in a thriller, 8.11 (59) to 8.8 (56) at Narrandera Sportsground.
After a scrappy first half, Leeton-Whitton set the third quarter alight with five goals in six minutes against the breeze to open up a 25-point lead.
The Lions were able to respond immediately through two opportunist goals to Tom Anderson, then a further two through Riley Corbett and Matt Hamblin had GGGM back in the contest at three-quarter-time, down by two points.
Leeton-Whitton had the breeze to finish with but the Lions hit the front through Jack McCaig in the sixth minute, before he goaled again 10 minutes later to stretch GGGM’s lead to 10 points.
Jimmy Nancarrow marked and goalled truly with 90 seconds remaining to put the Crows back within a kick, then they almost jagged it moments later when a Cooper Sharman snap sailed just wide of the post for a behind.
It was a big win from the Lions after finding themselves 25 points down midway through the third quarter and coach Christin Macri could not have been prouder of his men.
“It’s huge, especially because they put it on us going into the breeze as well,” Macri said.
“It could have been quite easy to go, you know what this is going to be a bit too hard now, we’ve really tried our hardest for a quarter and a half with the wind and nothing’s really happened but our boys have got character and they’re a tight group and they get on really well and that’s the only way you get out of situations like that.
“You dig in, and a couple of goals from Tommy Anderson, it just gets a little spark and another goal from Matty Hamblin and things start to happen.
“Then the quality of the players to stand up in the last quarter was amazing. Everyone did their bit...and I’m just so proud, rapt to get out of it.”
It took an even performance from the Lions to get the job done.
Jesse Lander was excellent through the midfield, working hard defensively and also winning plenty of the footy.
Riley Corbett was kept quiet for most of the day but still finished with 3.2, while Anderson and McCaig bobbed up with two goals each at crucial times.
The Lions will get Zac Wiencke back from an ankle injury to face Griffith, while Scott Proctor is only a 50-50 proposition to return from a hamstring injury.
Tom Meline, Mason Dryburgh and Ryan Dunn were among the Crows’ better players, while Cooper Sharman kicked three goals.