The Merimbula-Pambula Bulldogs 18s wrapped up a flawless season on Sunday.
The side conquered the Batemans Bay Tigers 22-18 in front of a packed crowd at the Bega Recreation Ground where play broke down more than once.
The Bulldogs had been clear competition favourites throughout the year as they swept aside all opposition on the road to the grand final.
The opening minutes looked like more of the same when lock Matthew Moon made some hammering runs into the middle for the Bulldogs and opened the scoring with a well-placed try.
With gun fullback – and man of the match – Kyle Shepherdson slotting the extras, most fans were expecting a regular text book performance from the young guns.
Thirteen minutes in, the Bay Tigers found some traction as they peppered the flanks of the Bulldogs and finally found space to roam with Tremayne Chatfield going over in the corner.
Merimbula-Pambula captain Rueben Smahel and Jack McGuire were making good ground with some hard work in the middle, while Moon added range with a swarm of solid hit ups.
This gave the Bulldogs the chance to let their backs loose as Shepherdson darted over for his first of two tries.
A late try on the edge saw the Bay still in contention, trailing 14-8 at the break, but play was becoming heated.
A try six minutes in levelled the scores at 14-14 and it was anyone’s game with both sides working well through the middle.
Shepherdson found room to move off a great right-edge expansive play from the Bulldogs to slip through and lead once more 20-14.
However, Batemans Bay quashed their own chances of a comeback as a brawl broke out in the Bay danger zone.
A player from the Dogs’ was binned for striking, but both the Bay six and seven were binned leaving the side with no halves for the key plays.
Shepherdson slotted the penalty goal to claim an eight point buffer.
With about seven minutes remaining in play, the Bay had been threatening to over-run the Bulldogs on the flanks, but could not muster any plays without their halves.
Lock Sam McCann still boasted some devastating runs into Merimbula-Pambula territory with good support from the centres..
However, the Bulldogs were weary, but resilient with the front row hitting up some good metres through the middle to keep the minor premiers in good field position.
Josh Cole and Kye Dewberry backed up their forwards well, while Tom Grant and Rhys Schafer worked hard to contain the Tigers’ runners. The clock whittled away with the Bulldogs celebrating their four-point win, with celebrations running well into ‘Mad Monday’.