PORT Macquarie Magpies saw a 25-point halftime lead evaporate before their very eyes before rallying late to register a heartstopping one-point victory over Grafton at Wayne Richards Park on Saturday.
The Magpies went to the long break in total control of the match before the ladder-leaders responded in champion fashion to kick the next six goals in succession.
Sam Johnson then put the the 'Pies back in front for good with just two minutes left on the clock to help steer his side to a 11.9 (75) to 11.8 (74) win.
Johnson's major was the Magpies third goal in the final eight minutes as they overturned a 17-point deficit of their own late in the contest.
Coach Blake Nelson said it was the type of victory that the club could build a season on.
"The last quarter we had our backs against the wall and everything against us," he said.
The fact we were able to dig deep like that and being so early in the season, we can definitely use that again and hopefully make the finals.Port Macquarie Magpies coach Blake Nelson
"A few decisions didn't go our way which is footy, but the way we fought back and played an aggressive type of footy was spectacular."
Grafton had all the momentum with less than 10 minutes remaining when they kicked their sixth-straight major before the Magpies responded.
"(Grafton) did the same thing against Coffs two weeks ago, where they kicked goals in a rush," Nelson said.
"Momentum is a big thing in footy, but we preserved our energy throughout the whole day and rotated a lot of guys in and out of the midfield because we knew it was going to go down to the wire.
"The fact we were able to dig deep like that and being so early in the season, we can definitely use that again and hopefully make the finals."
Port Macquarie's never-say-die attitude saw them climb out of a deep hole when the match looked gone.
"Our drive to win is what we play footy for; we found it somewhere deep inside us," Nelson said.
There were still elements of the match that the Magpies needed to improve on in coming weeks.
"There's no such thing as perfect footy and the things we do right we just have to do consistently," he said.
"We'll still work on it and keep doing what we're doing; it was a gutsy win."
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