A thrilling finish with a try after the siren ensured Narwan Eels would lift the Armidale Blues’ Rugby Union knockout trophy.
The rugby league side suited up for the sevens tournament in a hit out before the group 19 season starts and it proved a masterstroke with Alistair Faulkner crossing in extra time in the grand final to hand them the title.
Downpours and mud made it a tough task for the side but their speed and skill was too much as they stole the late victory from last season’s New England Rugby Union premiers St Albert’s College.
Albies led for most of the match thanks to tries to Seb Field and Jack Lane.
Jordan Moran went over the stripe twice for the Eels and as the clock winded down, they were behind 12-10.
The siren sounded and the ball was in Narwan’s hands.
It flew sideline to sideline before Faulkner found the gap and sealed the win.
The club are back in the rugby league competition for the first time in more than a decade and president Fred Waters was thrilled to be in the blue and gold once again.
“It is not just for our club, it is for our community,” he said.
“It is uplifting. It is not about individuals, we are all family. We strive to be good, we struggle from things that have happened before but a lot of things are out of our control and this just showcased to people that we are here to stay and we want to do the right thing.”
The Eels are thankful to be out on the field again and decided $300 of their sevens prizemoney would go back to the Blues to donate to a charity of their choice.
The tournament helped the team blow out some cobwebs ahead of the season and Waters said they couldn’t wait for the competition to start.
“Our committee has done hours and hours of work to get us to where we are right now and this is only just the start. We have three weeks to go and we can’t wait,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we are footballers, we don’t have to be taught this, we are born with it and it just goes to show stuff we can do.
“I am just grateful for the opportunity and the Blues gave it to us and our sponsors to get us to where we are today.”
The event attracted 16 men’s teams and six women’s teams at Moran Oval.
The Inverell Highlanders have raised the bar in women’s rugby after easily accounting for the competition in Saturday’s rugby union knockout.
The Inverell side have been playing the sport for in excess of a decade and gave the Armidale sides a lesson in the tournament as they showed their skill to win the title.
Their slick skills and footwork was too much for the newcomers to the sport as they easily beat the Barbets in the final.