Four points denied Narwan Eels the chance to cap off their sensational return to Group 19 after an 11 year stint on the sidelines.
The Eels took on minor premiers MacIntyre Warriors in Saturday’s decider and a defensive masterclass from the Boggabilla side saw them edge out Narwan 26-22.
The Warriors forced repeat sets and, through Narwan’s poor discipline, earned back-to-back penalties in the opening 40 minutes.
They took the scoring opportunities with both hands and strolled out to a 22-4 lead. John Roberts stormed over for a try before half-time to bring the deficit back to 22-10.
Tensions boiled over in the second half and MacIntyre received a double sin-binning. With just 11 players to attack, Narwan’s Jared Edwards barged his way through to snag his second try for the game.
Derrick Craigie hit back for the hosts late in the half to stretch their lead back to 26-18.
Roberts managed to bag a consolation try on the stroke of full-time but it wasn’t enough as the Warriors finished victorious to win the premiership in only their second year in Group 19.
Though Narwan and MacIntyre were on par for tries scored – goalkicking making the difference – Eels’ coach Peter Moran applauded the Warriors’ defence with only 11 players on the paddock during the second half.
“We had our opportunities to score and win, we just didn't cherish the ball enough,” he said.
“They were completing sets and we were giving penalties away and I couldn't wait to get into the dressing sheds at half-time to let them know, 'don't panic', that's what we were doing.
“I am happy for Bogga, no regrets, they deserve it, they were the benchmark side of the year. Full credit to their defence, we attacked and attacked and had that many sets.
“They only had 11 men on the field, I have to take my hat off to them, they defended well.”
While they didn’t win the trophy, Moran was pleased with the return season for the club.
They set a strong off-field culture which set the tone for their on-field performances.
“I am happy with the way we played this year and the committee, the community and our supporters,” Moran said.