Swooping season has come early for the Belconnen Magpies after they threw the Queanbeyan Tigers off their AFL Canberra throne.
Belconnen played a patchy brand of football over the first three rounds but kicked away with an impressive 13.14 (92) to 5.6 (36) win to spoil Queanbeyan's undefeated start to the season.
The two sides were neck-and-neck in the opening exchanges but the Magpies kicked six goals in the second to give themselves some breathing space for the rest of the contest.
As the home side gained momentum and the score margin widened, the pressure proved all too much for the Tigers.
"Credit to Belconnen, [they] absolutely smashed it," Queanbeyan coach Adrian Pavese said.
"They got the jump on us, they played smart footy with the conditions and we just weren't able to step up.
"When you're playing a side like Belconnen, who have been a pretty strong team for a long period of time, you have to keep the pressure on and keep at it.
"I was pretty disappointed with the lack of pressure compared to what we delivered against Eastlake.
"We let ourselves down. Our performance wasn't good enough."
Queanbeyan were unbeaten leading into this round but there'll be little need for soul searching as both teams are heavily favoured to play in the business end of the season.
"No way are we panicking but obviously we have a fair bit of improvement to go," Pavese said.
"We just want a sustained effort, consistency with our pressure and across the ground.
"It's only round four, we got a lesson today and we got the chance to learn from it and get better."
After a touch-and-go start to the season, Magpies coach and star forward James Bennett was rapt that the group had finally found momentum.
Although Jeff Dowdell controlled the game from the ruck and Tariku Fitzgerald-Holmes starred in the back, Bennett praised the group's combined effort.
"To put up the effort that we did today is a real credit to the guys," Bennett said.
"They were really dialed in for the game and we had 22 guys who contributed on field.
"It was one of those games where the best player got it right and it was a team effort. We really did have our whole team step up and play well throughout the game.
"We've been patchy, so hopefully that's a new base level for us."
Belconnen's triumph came a day after the Ainslie Tricolours snuck home with a one-point win over the Eastlake Demons at Phillip Oval.
Ainslie struggled to shake off the Demons in a grand final rematch but again came out victorious in a 6.12 (48) to 6.11 (47) thriller.
The Gungahlin Jets broke their duck with a 9.3 (57) to 5.9 (39) win over the struggling Tuggeranong Hawks at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval.
Meanwhile, the Canberra Demons were on the wrong end of of 89-point drubbing at the hands of the undefeated Brisbane Lions in the NEAFL at Phillip Oval.
Canberra were no match for the ladder-leading side boasting 20 AFL listed players, falling to a 10.6 (66) to 24.11 (155) defeat.