The best victories come when your back is against the wall.
Euroa’s 14-point triumph against Tatura on Saturday will therefore taste especially sweet.
Missing a player for much of the final quarter and, with a record away from home — 7-28-1 since saluting by a solitary point at Kings Park on Anzac Day, 2013 — which reads like something out of the West Coast Eagles’ playbook, the Magpies dug deep to engineer a galvanising win.
‘‘We can really take confidence forward now, we’ve snuck away with a couple of wins this year, but from here on we can just have confidence in each other that we know we can do it,’’ gun Magpie midfielder Rohan Bail said.
Bail, along with playing-coach JD Hayes, led the charge with monumental performances, racking up 41 and 42 disposals respectively.
‘‘It’s hard work, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you I’d had that many, but JD’s super,’’ Bail said.
‘‘He just fights and demands standards from us and, as a 21-year-old coach, he’s pretty easy to follow, so it’s super impressive.’’
The former Melbourne ball-winner also showed great courage in the dying minutes of the clash to back-track into the unknown in defence and take a telling mark.
‘‘I found myself in a good defensive spot but the other backmen had great voice, and I knew I could take it, so I thank them really,’’ he said.
Despite leading for most of the match, Euroa could not shake the Bulldogs by more than 19 points at any stage and, when Max Gleeson was shown a red card for an off-the-ball incident late in the third term, it looked as if Tatura would storm home for an inspired win of its own.
It was not to be though as Magpies Trent Storer and Ryley Bjorksten added their second majors of the contest to seal the stirring victory.
‘‘We came here confident in ourselves, but obviously playing away against Tat, who really pushed Kyabram last week, we knew we had to work really hard,’’ Bail said.
‘‘We were lucky enough to put a four-quarter performance together, which we’ve probably struggled to do this year, so we’re super happy with it.’’
James Sullivan, in his 100th senior game for the Bulldogs, booted his third goal in red time of the last term to bring the margin to its final resting place, but Tatura was simply too poor when the game was in the balance.
‘‘I thought our last quarter was really disappointing,’’ playing-coach Jamason Daniels said.
‘‘We didn’t stand up when we needed to.’’
The two sides traded blows early in the match before Euroa exploded with three goals in as many minutes late in the opening stanza to streak away.
Tatura’s Jaydan Thewma (two goals), Zavier Ballis (two) and the returning Rob Montgomery all helped drag their side back into the lead half-way through the second quarter, but in the end the Bulldogs had to be content with yet another honourable loss.
‘‘It’s really frustrating, we’ve played three of the top four sides and lost them all by under two goals,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘Given how close the season is we need to start winning games, but unfortunately the little things haven’t quite clicked yet.’’
Remarkably, Euroa is now three games clear of the sixth-placed Tatura and will return to Memorial Oval to take on the wounded Seymour in an attempt to move further up the ladder.
‘‘We spoke at training and we don’t want to be one of those teams that just make the finals,’’ Bail said.
‘‘We really want to be pushing the top two or three and (this win) gives us confidence, so hopefully we can keep going.’’
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs must take on the red-hot Benalla on home turf and now have three teams (Echuca, Rochester and Shepparton United) breathing down their necks.
Tatura could also be without Sean Martin (rolled ankle) and Liam Borrelli (groin soreness) for the clash after the pair came out of Saturday’s battle worse for wear.
‘‘On any given day we want to beat whoever we’re playing, and that won’t change against Benalla,’’ Daniels said.
‘‘There’s a real log-jam on the ladder so we just really need to come away with the four points.’’