The Dubbo Demons created club history on Saturday as they scored a first AFL Central West win over the powerhouse Bushrangers in Bathurst.
In conditions Dubbo coach Terry Lyons described as some of the worst he's seen in roughly 30 years around the game, the Demons scored a courageous 4.6.30 to 2.8.20 win at George Park 2.
The result marked the first time a Dubbo side had beaten the Bushrangers on the own turf since the formation of the Bathurst club in 2004.
It also marked three straight wins for the in-form Demons and Lyons, who has had a long involvement with the club as a player and coach, admitted it was enough to being a tear to the eye.
"That's one of the better wins I've ever been involved with just in terms of sheer willpower from the guys," he said.
"Bathurst had the wind going into the last quarter and in previous years they still would have been confident of beating the Demons.
"But this year there's just a resilience growing in the group and they just held on and really battled it out ... here's belief growing in them that they can actually do it."
The closest the Demons had previously come to defeating the Bushrangers at Bathurst was all the way back in 2007, when the hosts hang on to win in a one-point thriller.
The all-important final goal in Saturday's breakthrough victory came from an unlikely source.
Bailey Edmunds wasn't initially going to play for the Demons on Saturday but after a player pulled out before game-time, he backed up from the Tier 2 match in Orange.
In the final minutes, after the Demons had absorbed a huge amount of pressure, the ball was worked forward and Edmunds kicked a goal soccer-style off the ground from roughly 20 metres out to extend the lead to nine points.
"In the last quarter all the momentum was with the Bushrangers and we held on. In the end it was just an arm wrestle because of the conditions," Lyons said, a freezing wind and muddy surface making any flowing attack near-impossible.
"Sixteen of the 20 minutes in the final quarter was played in the Bushies' attacking half and we kicked out and worked it and Bailey Edmunds soccered one through.
"It could have gone either way. Both teams went at it all day."
The resilience Lyons spoke of was clear to see at Bathurst on Saturday after his Demons failed to kick a goal during a challenging first half of footy.
"I've played footy for a long time and that would up there in the top five worst conditions I've ever seen," Lyons said of the cold and muddy ground.
The Bushrangers led by 10 points at the main break but the Demons rallied and Bevan Charlton-White, Dylan Fairall, and Tom Skinner all booted goals before Edmunds' effort sealed the long-awaited victory.
"Matt Purse, who's in our leadership group, called on the guys at three-quarter time to not do what we've done and let them win," Lyons added.
"That was part of the resilience. He really stepped up at the right time and it was just a good day."
Purse was part of the defence, along with Harley Bye, Ben Wells, which earned praise from the coach while Skinner, Tom Byrnes, and Mick Daly got though a huge amount of work in the midfield.
The three successive victories now has the Demons just two wins off the Bushrangers and a spot in the top two.
The chance to finish in the top two was mentioned by a few of the players in the aftermath of Saturday's victory but Lyons isn't looking too far forward yet, with five rounds still remaining before finals.
"The task at hand is what we need to focus on. You can get a bit ahead of yourself," he said.
"We've only won four games and we're still a long way off some of the objectives for the year in terms of being competitive. We are very pleased obviously but there's a long way to go."
The Demons women's side forfeited on the weekend while the Tier 2 team's match at Orange was abandoned at half-time due to inclement weather at the Waratahs ground.
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