Barellan celebrated their first win at home in more than three years on Saturday, storming home for a 27-point victory against Coleambally that had the Two Blues community in full voice.
And they gave their hardy faithful something else to celebrate too, with the 11.9 (75) to 7.6 (48) win almost certain to see them avoid the wooden spoon.
Assistant coach Andrew Sidebottom said it was one to savour for a few reasons. While Coleambally felt ripped off earlier this year after going down in unusual circumstances (the match was halted early due to a horror injury to Coleambally's Tom Morton), Barellan also felt it was a hollow win, and they had something to prove themselves.
"It was a tough game. We knew Coly were going to throw everything at us after last time we played when we took the points but that wasn't really a win for anyone. It wasn't a win for us, it wasn't something we celebrated, so it was a good chance to prove to them that we are the better side," Sidebottom said.
Injured senior coach Alex Lawder, who was in Canberra awaiting the imminent birth of a new baby, was elated with the effort as he was updated throughout the hard-fought victory.
The two sides battled hard for much of the game, trading goals for much of the first three quarters.
But Barellan was on top at every change, by a point, then nine, and then seven, before exploding in the final term.
They kicked five goals to two, almost doubling their tally of the previous three terms.
"In the first half it was basically goal for goal and (Coleambally co-coach) Luke Hillier was sensational for them in the first quarter," Sidebottom said.
Shaun Bourchier went to Hillier, and the Two Blues just kept hanging tough in front.
"The best part was - and we haven't done it all year - we pushed and did all the little things for a full four quarters," Sidebottom said.
"The guys held their heads high and just kept going with it."
There had been near misses for Barellan at home in their last season, drawing with East Wagga-Kooringal and going down by two points to the Northern Jets in 2019. You have to go back to the first half of 2018 for the last win at their Sportsground.
This time, there was no falling short.
Midfielder Ben Cleaver was absolutely outstanding in leading their charge, Bourchier was strong in keeping a close eye on Hillier and winning his own footy, and playing president Jeff Mickan battled brilliantly in the ruck all day as Barellan finished right on top for an amazing atmosphere.
"It was electric. You couldn't have asked for better. Having a look at the players and then at some of the older people around the place, and their looks on their faces...." Sidebottom said.
"The new clubrooms have been there for a few years and the song hadn't been sung by the seniors in those new clubrooms.
"You can imagine what it was like in there."
Jade Hodge kicked three of Coleambally's seven goals and was among their best along with Curtis Steele, James Buchanan and Guy Orton.
Barellan's third win of the year lifted them from ninth to seventh, ahead of Temora on percentage and a win clear of the Blues.
Coleambally are at home to the Northern Jets next week, Temora are at home to The Rock-Yerong Creek, and Barellan have the tough task of taking on ladder leaders Marrar.
"It's going to be a very tough game but we want to finish the season with our heads held high," Sidebottom said.
"If we can do what we did today for four quarters, Marrar aren't going to find it very easy against us."
Barellan 2.3, 5.5, 6.6, 11.9 (75)
Coleambally 2.2, 4.2, 5.5, 7.6 (48)
Goals: (Barellan) Matthew Wells 2, Will Overs 2, Ryley Conlan 2, James McCabe 2, Shaun Bourchier 1, Ben Cleaver 1, Jack Hillman 1, Michael Lovett 1; (Coleambally) Jade Hodge 3, Lachlan Evans 2, Curtis Steele 1, Guy Orton 1.
Best: (Barellan) Ben Cleaver, Shaun Bourchier, Michael Lovett, Josh Brittliff, Sean Ellis, James McCabe; (Coleambally) Curtis Steele, James Buchanan, Guy Orton, Jade Hodge, Lachlan Evans, Shaun Light.
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