The Merimbula Diggers shored up their number two standing on the Sapphire Coast AFL ladder, but only just.
Facing off with the Pambula Panthers in a special pink round fundraiser, the Diggers came from behind to steal the show in the dying minutes of play in the senior fixture.
However, the Panthers had shown up their hosts comfortably in the earlier reserve grade clash that featured five family members playing together.
Bryan, Tom, Toby, Alex and Colin Hammond all donned the brown and yellow for the Panthers in the reserve grade clash where Toby led the goal-scoring, putting four majors on the board in a great display.
Officials said it reinforced how the Panthers are a family club with two brothers taking the field with their sons on the day.
After just a five-point buffer at the main break, the Panthers rallied relentlessly in the second half to keep Merimbula scoreless.
With some handy scoring from the Panthers, the final score blew out to 7-6-48 to 3-0-18 at the final buzzer.
The result also saw the Panthers slip into second spot on the development grade ladder, pushing the Diggers back into third at the close of the regular season.
The later senior fixture was an extremely tight contest and played out in front of a huge crowd at Berrambool Oval.
The Diggers donned special pink jerseys, while sweet treats were on offer at the canteen in the name of breast cancer research.
Coach Ian Radford said all proceeds from the day were going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and praised the support from the community for the day.
It was never going to be a day of feeding the ball to the full forward and slotting a mountain of goals in the top grade match.
Scoring wasn’t going to be from comfortable straight on kicks, but snap-shots from obscure angles or against the wind from massive range.
Two of the fastest and skillful teams within SCAFL were set to grind away at each other and find dominance through the hands and in the air.
Early passages of play were unforgiving with ferocious tackling and no marks going uncontested.
The Panthers led to the half by a point 24-23.
A couple of sendoffs for swearing left both teams short and the Panthers capitalised to lead by 20 at three quarter time. Sean Smith led the troops, hitting a double.
As play headed into the fourth quarter the vocal crowd egged the Diggers on and Luke Higgins answered with an early goal to put Merimbula back within two goals. The Diggers clawed back and a shot, just three minutes before the siren, cleared the big posts to put the hosts three points in front 8-8-56 to 7-11-53.
Meanwhile, the Tathra-Bega Sea Eagles comfortably defeated Eden, 23.26 (164) to 7.5 (47).
Semi-finals will run on August 13.
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