Bathurst St Pat's claimed the 2019 Group 10 under-18 title following a defensive showcase against their traditional rivals Panthers in Sunday's decider at Carrington Park.
Led by a brilliant performance from captain and man of the match Nic Barlow, Saints out-enthused their rivals to record a 20-8 victory.
Their defensive effort was something to be admired against a Panthers team stacked with a near endless supply of offensive weapons.
Panthers are a great side with a brilliant forward pack and they've got blokes going on to play in SG Ball and down in Melbourne. But my blokes were hungry for it.St Pat's coach Kev Grimshaw
The Kev Grimshaw and Dane Fisher-coached Saints claimed their first title in seven years, and prevented Panthers from claiming back-to-back crowns.
"We've been working since January for this moment," Grimshaw said.
"Panthers are a great side with a brilliant forward pack and they've got blokes going on to play in SG Ball and down in Melbourne. But my blokes were hungry for it.
"My guys wanted to do everything and they rose to the occasion.
"Panthers had beaten us twice during the year. I said to my guys after they beat us in the first round that they wouldn't beat us in a grand final, and they believed it."
Panthers bested the Saints 24-14 in the major semi-final to be the first team through to the decider.
St Pat's were forced into an extra game - a preliminary final against the Blayney Bears - but the Saints' looked stronger for the experience.
Panthers coach John Fearnley said the Saints had the edge in the energy department.
"St Pat's came out here and out-enthused us," he said.
"We had a few penalties go against us on a hot day but Pat's are a really good side who just proved too good for us on the day."
A penalty against the Panthers brought the Saints deep into their territory for an early shot at their try line.
Pat's found their breakthrough in the eighth minute courtesy of lock Nic Barlow who crashed over next to the uprights, with Tyler Colley providing the conversion.
The Saints thought they had found another try on their next set but were called back for a penalty, giving the Panthers defence a much needed chance to breathe.
Panthers found their spark through a barnstorming Brad Fearnley line break that would set up their first points.
The ball was spread right from the play-the-ball and found its way to Zac Burke, who cut back inside and dived over for an unconverted try.
Colley stepped up to kick a short range penalty goal to take the margin out to four in the 22nd minute.
Panthers were finding it difficult to make inroads against a fired up Pat's defence until a penalty gave them a full set close to the Saints' try line inside the last five minutes.
Unfortunately for the Panthers they couldn't capitalise.
Tempers flared up close to half-time as Panthers' Bevan Sampson and Saints' Jack O'Neill were both sent to the sin bin for fighting.
In the 12-on-12 situation to start the new half it was Pat's who wreaked havoc.
Barlow was at it again when a line break 30 metres out from Panthers line put a flying Colley over for a try between the posts.
The score went out to 20-4 in the Saints' favour following a dynamite solo effort from Ben Mackey and a Colley conversion.
Callum Limon came within inches of giving Panthers a try they desperately needed inside the final 10 minutes but he was forced into touch.
Things came apart for Panthers with eight minutes to go when Sampson instigated another fight and found himself sent off.
Limon had more luck the second time he reached out for the try line, but his try with three minutes to go would be nothing more than a consolation prize.
Panthers tried their hardest to get another late try as they took one more trip down the field.
But once they knocked the ball on close to the Pat's try line, with just over 90 seconds to go, the result was secured.
- BATHURST ST PAT'S 20 (Nic Barlow, Tyler Colley, Ben Mackey tries; Colley 3 goals; penalty goal) def BATHURST PANTHERS 8 (Zac Burke, Callum Limon tries)
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