The Tathra Sea Eagles claimed two wins on the weekend with points in the dying minutes of play tilting results against Pambula and Wyndham.
The Sea Eagles rallied from behind in both the reserve grade and women's contests from the visiting Pambula club at Lawrence Park on Saturday.
However, the Panthers flipped that in the headline first grade clash against the Eagles, holding on to a three-point advantage at the final siren to claim a narrow 10-9-69 to 10-6-66 result.
All three senior games played out in front of a wonderfully large crowd with numbers similar to a semi-final in attendance.
With key shot-caller Luke Taylor sidelined through knee injury, the Sea Eagles rallied to fill the void with Scott Hay providing a strong display in the air through the midfield, while Jack Hukins had an immense work rate alongside Lachlan Brennan to be recognised as some of the best on ground.
Meanwhile 300-game plus man Croc Little made a return for a run at full forward, where he bagged two goals and provided his usual high-flying marks that also helped set up other goals.
It was a bullet-straight kick from Little that set up Tathra's opening goal, with the kick needling deep into the Pambula goal square into the arms of team-mates to shoot straight through the posts.
Clint Phillips emerged as a critical player for Tathra, putting three kicks squarely through the sticks as the club chased just a four-point deficit going into the main break.
By three-quarter time, the scores were locked up at 50 apiece and just like the earlier two games, the final period would decide the outcome.
The Panthers were able to pull just enough from the energy tank to lead three goals to two in the final quarter to hang on for the result with Josh Fountain leading their tally on four majors.
Earlier, the Sea Eagles had narrowly defeated the returned Wyndham Wedgies with a couple of late goals 6-7-43 to 4-5-29.
Reuben Smahel and Shannon Shepherdson provided excellent service to the Tathra club, using their height and physicality to come up with a good amount of possession that helped the home club fight back to the front in the third quarter after trailing at the main break.
Up front, a pair of goals to both Ricky Woods and Doug Stubbs was the deciding factor on the scoreboard after scores had been all but deadlocked into the last period.
Officials said it was wonderful to welcome the return of the Wedgies to the competition and commended them on a great opening round contest.
In the women's contest, Pambula had been buoyed by support from the Bay Seahawks players who will miss the 2020 season in their league to lead by a handful of points early in the final quarter.
The Eaglettes rallied in the last to win 5-5-35 to 5-2-32.