The Narooma Lions' premiership defence is over after an 8.5 (53) to 6.6 (42) loss to the Pambula Panthers in Saturday's semi final.
After struggling through a regular season that brought only five wins, the Lions were forced into a do-or-die matchup with the third-placed Panthers, who finished their season with eight wins.
The Lions also had recent history against them, as they hadn't beaten a top-three side since a Round 5 win over the Merimbula Diggers.
However, the Lions had good motivation to win for club stalwart Luke 'Red Dog' Talty, who was playing in his 150th game for the club.
The game started as a dour affair, with scoring chances at a premium in the first quarter. Both teams had only three scoring shots, but the Panthers took their opportunities to lead by 10 at the first break.
The Lions hit back with three goals in the second quarter, but the home side managed to hold them at arm's length with two goals of their own to lead by six point at half time.
Pambula kicked away in the third term, piling on 3.2 to a single behind to build a match-winning 25-point lead at the final change.
Narooma wouldn't go down without a fight though, as they came out firing in the final quarter.
However, the three final-term goals weren't enough, as Pambula held on for an 11-point victory.
Hayden Lang led the lines for Narooma with three goals, while Liam Russell (2) and Jai Reed also got on the scoresheet.
Jonathan Di-Donato was the main threat for Pambula with three, while Josh Wheeler kicked two.
The Panthers will now take on the losers of next weekend's game between Merimbula and Tathra in the second grand-final qualifier.
Pambula 8.5 (53) (Goals: J Di-Donato 3, J Wheeler 2, M Wallis, T Hammond, T Ferguson; Best: J Taylor, S Butterfield, S Smith, E Moore, T Ferguson, J Di-Donato) def. Narooma 6.6 (42) (Goals: H Lang 3, L Russell 2, J Reed; Best: A Facchin, L Talty, M Talbott, R Spurgeon, M Sadler, J Reed).
Full Semi Final results
Under 12s: Merimbula 3.3 (21) def. Pambula 1.1 (7)
Under 14s: Pambula 14.16 (100) def. Merimbula 0.0 (0)
Under 16s: Merimbula 2.8 (20) def. Pambula 0.4 (4)
Reserve Grade: Tathra 4.9 (33) def. Merimbula 3.2 (20)
Women's: Eden 1.0 (6) def. Tathra 0.1 (1)
First Grade: Pambula 8.5 (53) def. Narooma 6.6 (42)