Ballina launches bombing run on AFL comp with win over 'Pies
"LIKE a grand final victory".
That was overjoyed player/president Jason Ross's verdict after the Ballina Bombers blew this season's South East Queensland/Northern Rivers AFL Division Four South competition wide open at the weekend.
A solid all-round performance steered the Bombers to a hard-fought 6.7 (43) to 4.13 (37) win over previously unbeaten ladder leaders Byron Magpies.
Ross said Saturday's nail-biting win, achieved in dreadful condition's Bangalow's Schultz Oval, was a memorable achievement for the club.
"It was one of the best wins we have had for a long time," he said.
"It was like a grand final to us, it was that good.
"Everyone is over the moon."
The Magpies went into the clash as firm favourites but the heavy rain proved a leveller.
Scoring was difficult with the Bombers opening up a six-point advantage at the half-time break.
The visitors kept their noses ahead until the final hooter, despite a determined challenge from the hosts.
Ross, who was forced off before the bell with a thigh injury, said it had been a nerve-racking experience from the sidelines.
"I was asking one of timekeepers, 'how long to go?' every 20 seconds in that final quarter," he said.
"It was a scrappy game but we hung in there.
"I think the fact we have some smaller players actually helped us in those conditions."
Although the Bombers still face a battle to secure a final berth this season, Ross said the win had provided a welcome boost for the club.
"We were looking a bit down before we beat Robina last week," he said.
"Now I think we have a red-hot chance to make the finals.
"We have proved we can beat the best teams in the comp.
"All the guys stepped up well. It was a great team effort."
Ross said his side's standouts were Sam Kennedy in the backline, Patty Bulzomi and Jack Fisher.
Magpies president Greg Ryan praised the whole-hearted effort by his players but said they had paid the price for some "atrocious" kicking.
Liam Afflick booted two goals for the Magpies, with Nicolas Baker and Hamish Harding also kicking majors.
Best for the Magpies were Nathan Moon, Dave Smith, Shane Morritt, Dan Tiffin, Zac Petty and Trent Stana.