The Cootamundra Blues have suffered a heartbreaking start to their season, with the Googong Hogs kicking a goal after the final siren to seal an 11.4.70 to 9.10.64 win.
Despite the Blues holding a 20-point lead with just 15 minutes remaining in the game, the Hogs stormed home to claim a well fought victory.
The first quarter was a see-sawing affair with both sides jostling for the lead.
Some ill discipline from the Blues saw them give away multiple soft free kicks resulting in two Googong goals.
In his debut for the Blues, new recruit Dylan Pumpa was on fire from the outset, throwing himself into marking contests with little regard for self-preservation.
Pumpa was well supported by Max Tiernan who also made his debut for his boyhood club.
Despite his youth, Max was physically dominant in every contest and showed plenty or promise for the season ahead.
After holding their own for the first quarter, the Blues found themselves 5 points down at the first break.
A rev up from coach Joe Scott did the job with the Blues upping the intensity in the second quarter.
After a slow start, Aaron Basham lifted his work rate and began to stamp his authority on the game.
The Blues midfielder racked up tackles and possessions at ease and topped off a fine effort with a goal of his own.
Forward Sandy Maskell-Knight was also leaving his mark, kicking his second of what would be 3 goals for the game.
The highlight for the quarter was no doubt Lachlan Webb kicking his first senior goal for the Blues.
After taking a strong one on one mark, Webb showed plenty of maturity to steer through a difficult set shot.
Namesake Luke Webb was also at his elite best off the forward flank, giving the Blues a great target and helping his side to a 7-point halftime lead.
Coming out of the major break, Cootamundra again lifted their game and extended their lead to 18 points.
Jacob Tiernan showed he will be a huge asset for the Blues this season, utilising his supreme fitness to get to footy first time and time again.
Another to impress was Andrew Saddler. A late transfer into the squad, Saddler was a class above through the midfield and did all he could to deliver his new club a victory.
With a 3-goal advantage and the Blues seemingly in control of the game heading into the fourth quarter, one could have been forgiven for thinking the game was all but wrapped up.
But Googong were having none of it.
The Blues were guilty of switching off before the job was done and the Hogs made them pay dearly.
Three goals in the final 15 minutes from Googong saw scores level and the Blues left shell shocked. The final five minutes were a see-sawing affair which saw neither side able to capitalise on their forward fifty entries.
In the end it was a dubious non-call that decided the result.
With Blues player Nick Holt knocked unconscious in an innocuous incident, Blues players plead with the umpires to stop the game to help their fallen teammate.
Despite the football going directly over a downed Holt, the umpires refused to stop the game. With their attention turned away from football, the Hogs made the Blues pay, moving the ball down field at ease and taking a mark in their own forward line to set up a shot where any point would result in a Googong victory.
Some choice words from a Blues player towards the umpire saw a 50-metre penalty awarded, marching the opposition to a point-blank position.
With the siren sounding, the Hogs forward made no mistake, slotting home the winning goal.
Despite the tough loss, the Blues can take plenty of positives away from their first game. The performance of young players and new recruits showed the squad have what it takes to be very competitive this season.
Sam Larsen, in his 50th appearance for the Blues put together a solid four quarter effort and deserved a better finish to his milestone game.
Goals: Maskell-Knight 3, La.Webb 2, Scott, A.Basham, Mazzocchi and Lu.Webb 1 each. Pat Kerin's best: Lu.Webb, M.Tiernan, J.Tiernan, Bird, Pearson, Bauer.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.