Westside has broken a 24-game losing streak with a gutsy 26-22 win against Nyngan at No.1 Oval on Sunday afternoon.
There was a mixture of relief and joy for the Westside men when they scored with less than a minute on the clock to secure victory.
“There’s some tears of joy there, because of how much it meant to some of the guys at the club. All those guys are right behind us and it’s great for them,” Rabbitohs co-coach Claude Gordon said.
“We saw the headline [about the losing streak] and it and I put it in the boys heads when we were warming up.
“It’s good. We’ve got the win and we’ve got some belief there.”
READ MORE: Westside out to end losing run
Co-coaches Gordon and Matt Nadan have worked hard to instill a strong belief and work ethic into their side and Gordon said that was on show against Tigers.
The match didn’t start well, and the leader admitted his team could and possibly should have been down by more than 16-6 at half-time.
But they weren’t, and they proceeded to work their way back into the match in the second half.
They drew level at 16-all with 20 minutes left in the game and appeared to have the momentum, but the Tigers scored to lead 22-16.
Nyngan then conceded a penalty that saw Westside start a set of six from 25 metres out. Matt Gibbs went over 15 metres to the left of the uprights, giving Naden a tricky conversion.
He missed, leaving the home side trailing by two points with five minutes remaining.
Instead of getting demoralised, Westside worked their way down the field again and Sam Coe was able to break the defence to give his side the welcome win.
While Westside players and fans were delighted with the outcome, Nyngan was far less impressed. Tigers captain-coach Jacob Neill said he felt the 50-50 calls didn’t go his team’s way.
“I thought we were a better side than that. We had plenty of chances but it’s a credit to Westside that they stuck in there and won it,” he said.
“It’s a hard one to take when you don’t get much go your way. That’s not taking away from them, they stuck in and credit to them. They haven’t won in two years and we were the first ones to go down.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow when things didn’t go our way.”
Gordon said the challenge for his team now was to build on Sunday’s win and become contenders in 2018.
“It’s good for Matt and I, it shows we are doing our jobs,” he said.
“I’m proud as punch with the way the boys stuck in. They had to dig deep. I told the boys we were lucky to be down 16-6, we could have been down 30-6.
“We can’t afford to give teams that start and we will work on that. We have a few things to work on but we should enjoy that win first.”