The Narooma Lions have stormed to the top of the SCAFL ladder with a 20-point victory over Tathra at Bill Smyth Oval.
The Sea Eagles were flying high after comfortably accounting for the reigning premiers in round three, but had their wings clipped by the Lions, who hit the ground running in the opening quarter.
Narooma coach Jason Sauiluma had his charges firing on all cylinders from the outset, and the Lions surged to a seven-point buffer at the first change.
With Jordan Lang dominating the ruck contests, and Luke Talty, Jeremy Sly, and Cliff Taylor finding plenty of the ball, Narooma piled on five goals kicking with the wind in the second quarter.
Simon Mackie was particularly damaging, showing strong hands and powerful kicking in the slippery conditions as the lead grew to 28 points by the long break.
Tathra came charging back in the third quarter, booting the first three goals to get within reach, but the Lions responded with three late majors of their own to take a decisive 26-point buffer in at three quarter time.
Tempers flared in a fierce final stanza, as the Sea Eagles pulled out all the stops in a desperate attempt to claw their way back.
Ultimately, Narooma held firm down the stretch for a 12.12 (84) to 9.10 (64) victory, claiming top spot on the ladder in the process.
“It was great for the boys to rise to the challenge,” coach Sauiluma said.
“We knew Tathra would come out strong, so to get to halftime with a good lead was important.
“They really lifted in the second half so it was great that we were able to stop their momentum and get the ball going back the other way.”
The win sees the Lions on the right side of the ledger, with a 2-1 record through four weeks.
“It's a good result – it lets us know that we're doing a lot of things right, but you can't read too much into it this early in the year,” Sauiluma said.
“There's a lot still to work on – the loss to Merimbula is still in the back of our minds and we face them again after the bye.”
Narooma 12.12 (84) (Goals: Mackie 3, Talty 2, H. Lang 2, J. Lang, Sly, Martin; Best: Talty, Mackie, Sly, J. Clothier, J. Lang) def. Tathra 9.10 (64) (Goals: D. Gartside 3, Coulton 3, O’Loghlin, S. Gartside, Stubbs; Best: Taylor, Mace, Phillip, Marshman, D. Gartside, Rettke)
It was a tough day for Narooma's reserves side, with the Lions paying the price for a slow start against a strong Tathra outfit.
Amid strong wind, driving rain, and bitterly cold weather, the Lions were jumped in the opening stages and didn't get a look in during the first half, trailing by 53 points at the main break.
The third quarter was far more positive for the home team as they scored two goals through coach Luke Gardiner and Rhys Noonan.
The effort from the squad was evident, with the contest in the second half seeming much closer than the scoreboard suggested.
Tathra 15.10 (100) def. Narooma 2.2 (14)
Narooma's senior side has a bye this Saturday, while the reserves are at home against Broulee/Moruya starting at 1.10pm.