Sunday's NAIDOC week celebration game at George Brown Memorial Oval saw the Tathra Sea Eagles claim a hard-fought 34-22 win over the Eden Tigers.
The excited home crowd had been roused by a touching Welcome to Country delivered by the young Aldridge girls ahead of the reserve grade clash.
Then when it came to the headline first grade game, the Tigers were particularly hungry for a win after tasting defeat at the hands of the competition-leading Bega Roosters a week earlier.
Luke Grewar touched down early in the game to give Eden a 6-0 lead, but Tathra replied immediately with two tries Declan Bower-Scott and speedy fullback Kyle Shepherdson to take a 10-6 lead.
The visitors were dominant in possession through a combination of penalties and Tigers' handling errors - and scored again through some fairly disorganised defence to post a 22-6 lead and silence the enthusiastic local crowd.
Captain-coach Mick Wykes and Brad Chatfield combined well to put Ian Smith in for a try just before half-time to raise hope of a Tigers comeback.
Early in the second half the Tigers showed some promise with strong runs and robust defence, but poor handling by both sides saw the pressure lifted from Tathra with play stumbling to a stop-start affair.
Unfortunately, Eden's momentum was all but halted when Eagle Ben Crowley split the Eden defence off a scrum and scooted through cleanly to give the visitors a match-winning lead of 28-10.
Classy Tigers fullback Mason Harrison set up a try with a neat pass to Chatfield and hopes were again raised with 20 minutes to go with Tathra in front 28-16.
There was a glimmer of hope for the Tigers to pull a win out of a losing score, but the Tathra fullback closed the gate on Eden's resurgence late in the half scoring his second.
Officials noted the quality of Shepherdson's play after he had already scored two for Tathra during the reserve grade clash.
A late double for Luke Grewar brought the scoring to a finish in what officials said was another setback for the Tigers in their run home to the finals.
However, key players John Aldridge, Matt Bell and Leigh Hennessey were absent over the weekend and their return will strengthen the side and see a return to the stability that had the Tigers winning several games in succession earlier this season.
The result sees the Tigers tumble down the ladder, but just three competition points separates second from sixth place as it stands.
The Tigers earlier scored rousing wins in the reserve grade with a 34-16 victory over the Eeagles, while the Tigerettes were dominant in their clash with the She Eagles to win 52-0.
First grade and league-tag have a bye this weekend, with the reserves to host the Snowy River Bears in Eden from 1pm on Sunday.