The Queanbeyan Tigers have gone down in a close affair to sixth place NEAFL side Ainslie, putting up a great fight to lose 12.9.81 to 9.10.64 at Dairy Farmers Park on Sunday.
While the Tigers' senior players found their feet in a desperate attempt to get their side back on the winner's list, the likes of young guns Brandon Lagana, Kieran Shea and Matt Grocott shined and were clearly gutted wit the loss.
Despite the result it was a big effort from the home side's senior players, who were clearly keen on making good of a season that has so far only seen three wins and the club dropping from the NEAFL.
In atrocious weather conditions the Tigers handled the football very well, and even managed to kick their way to leads regularly, with co-coach Kade Klemke and Brandon Lagana leading in the forward pocket.
Fellow co-coach Josh Bryce was at his outstanding best in defence, marking at will at fullback and at times saving Ainslie goals, while back-liner Toby Conroy also kept himself busy.
Their defence was still lazy at times, and despite leading for most of the first half they still took a 6.3.39 to 8.4.52 deficit into the main break.
But in they still played on with confidence, knowing each of Klemke, Matt Bernasconi, and Kieran Shea had bagged two goals a piece.
They kicked three goals and five behinds in the third term to take a a 9.8.62 to 9.6.60 lead into the last term.
But Ainslie came out firing in the final term, kicking two early goals and out to an 11.8.74m to 9.8.62 lead which proved unassailable for the Tigers.
Ainslie's composure and ability to force turnovers showed why they will be the only Canberra-based side in the NEAFL finals.
But for the Tigers it was still a respectable effort given they have endured a tumultuous fortnight, and the close loss added to the great effort they put in against competition leaders the UWS Giants a week ago.