NEAFL: Ainslie's Matthew Hearn pursues Queanbeyan's James Kavanagh. Click for more photos

Canberra's weekend sport action

NEAFL: Ainslie's Matthew Hearn pursues Queanbeyan's James Kavanagh. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

An exhausted Neill Irwin was almost reduced to tears as the Queanbeyan Tigers clinched the biggest victory of their NEAFL season at Margaret Donoghoe Oval yesterday.

But it wasn't the stirring 16.10 (106) to 13.11 (89) victory over Ainslie which left the Tigers big man mentally and physically drained.

Operating off just two hours' sleep, Irwin was running on adrenaline after wife Jess gave birth to their second child at 2am yesterday.

Son Lewis arrived in the early hours of game day and Irwin didn't get to sleep until 5am.

His two-year-old daughter Gemma then woke him up at 7am ready to play and after the Tigers secured a season-defining win over the defending premier, Irwin had nothing left.

''I've walked off the ground almost in tears, I'm so stoked,'' Irwin revealed.

''We haven't beaten Ainslie for a long time, it's been such a good day.

''But I can't wait to get to bed, I can't even remember half of the game, it's all a blur.''

The 15-point win was the perfect way to end a hectic 24 hours.

More importantly for the Tigers' season, it gives them the belief they can beat the best sides in the competition.

Sitting at the top of the ladder, the Tigers have identified the next three weeks as crunch games as they take on the rampaging Sydney Swans reserves, Southport and another clash with Ainslie.

After falling behind early, the Tigers found their rhythm in the second quarter and a devastating five-goals-to-nil third quarter set them up for victory.

Ainslie fought back into the match and cut the margin to just 10 points in the last quarter.

But its charge ended when Josh Bryce kicked a goal with less than a minute to go.

Ainslie coach Chris Rourke said his young players panicked when the Tigers went on a scoring spree.

''We stopped running and we got bashed in the middle, we got lost,'' Rourke said.

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AT A GLANCE

NEAFL round 10, yesterday: Queanbeyan 16.10 (106) bt Ainslie 13.11 (89); Eastlake 8.12 (60) bt Tuggeranong 2.8 (20).