It took 180 minutes to separate the sides, but Marist eventually prevailed to claim the Tasman Trophy following a dramatic final with Waimea Old Boys on Saturday.
The scoreboard at Trafalgar Park read 29-all at full-time as Waimea first five Campbell Parata slotted a clutch penalty to send the sides into extra time.
It took a further 18 minutes before Marist skipper James Hawkey put his side in front. This ultimately proved enough as the team held on for a dramatic victory.
James was at a loss for words following the final whistle.
“I’m just so relieved, I can’t believe we came out and did it. Faith was there and it’s a bloody good feeling.”
James says he kept the message simple as the clock ticked past eighty.
“Be patient, be positive and keep playing.”
Coach Gavin Briggs says his heart was feeling it after the thrilling win.
“My ticker is getting too old as it is, but the guys showed a lot of character to play through that extra 20 minutes.”
Gavin says there was a key factor they had prepared for during the week.
“Pressure, we knew it was going to happen, but to that extent?”
The former Nelson Bays prop says Waimea would have been worthy winners and gave his men one hell of a fight.
“There were two very good sides out there. It’s unfortunate that there had to be a runner up but I’m just really proud and stoked for our guys.
“We are going to enjoy a few drinks on this one.”
The competition’s top try scorer, halfback Cleve Barrell, again played an integral role for Marist.
His brace of tries in the final took his season tally to 12.
The 22-year-old says it was an unbelievable feeling to finally get across the line in a final.
“To lose in both last year and finally come through this year, it means so much especially with this group of lads, it really is special.”
Cleve was quick to credit his teammates for his try-scoring feats this season.
“It just makes it so much easier for me to play behind a pack going forward.”
He says he simply finished off what his team started.
“The whole team takes credit for those.”
Marist 32 (Barrell 2, Sami, Saulekaleka tries, Briggs 3 cons, 1 pen Hawkey 1 pen)
Waimea 29 (Stringer, Amberger tries, Parata 2 cons 5 pen)