It was a narrow two-point win for the Bathurst Bushrangers Rebels, but co-coach Matt Archer admitted his team was lucky to win its intra-club derby against Bushrangers Outlaws on Saturday.
Outlaws led at the break for the first three quarters, but it was Rebels who stepped up in the last quarter to kick four goals to win a nail-biting Central West AFL match 10-9-69 to 10-7-67 at George Park 2.
Archer admitted that while his team did win, he believed his team was second best on the day.
"Football is a funny game. It's cruel too. You like to say the better team won on the day but we definitely weren't the better team," he said.
"We were second best all day. Even the first 10 to 15 minutes of the last quarter, the ball was in [Outlaws'] forward half for nearly the whole time.
"With 10 minutes to go the game began to open up finally. It just took a couple of deep entries and four really quick goals. I don't know how we won, to be honest."
And while the intra-club derby was one of three games which marked the end of the first round of the home and away season, Archer described the match as "grand finalish".
"We say every time derbies are the best games and the hardest games, but it was another level again," he said.
"It was something different and the physicality was unbelievable. It almost felt grand finalish and it brought the best out of each other.
"To get that win and like that, it's really satisfying for our guys to scrape through even when we were the second best all day.
"You also have the sense that you are sorry for your mates who lost, because you're such good mates. I feel like they deserved to win, but we'll take it."
Rebels lost Harry Bowden early in the game, which meant Bill Watterson had to play a more commanding role in the ruck.
And while Watterson wasn't able to find the space he normally does, Archer said he was amongst the action all day.
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"He wasn't able to break out in space like he usually does, but he contested all day and kicked a couple of big goals," he said.
"He was an absolute standout.
"Pat Fisher and Jimmy Smith also stepped up late in the fourth quarter. They both managed to find some space, work hard to get some uncontested ball and get it up field."
The win solidifies Rebels' position at the top of the ladder, ahead of Orange Tigers courtesy of percentages.
However, Outlaws have dropped out of the top four into fifth, after Bathurst Giants claimed a massive win over Cowra and Parkes forfeited to Dubbo.