LAST year Port City Breakers were left feeling numb.
This year it was cross-town rivals Port Sharks’ turn as a slick Breakers outfit out-enthused the 2015 premiers.
Inspired by captain Ben Stewart, the Breakers led 20-0 at the break in one of their most comprehensive performances of the year.
The Sharks fumbled their way through the match, but coach Joe Cudmore had no excuses.
It was like quicksand, every time we tried harder the worse it got.
“It was like quicksand out there,” he said.
“We tried hard, but every time we tried harder we got worse and worse so it’s hard to play in those games; they came out and smashed us.”
The Breakers raced out to an early 8-0 lead after Mick Marshall scored in the corner.
That was extended to 20-0 after Stewart leapt above opposite number Jake Green to come down with the ball and when Clint Walker ran the length of the field it was a long way back.
“I’m pretty numb at the moment,” Cudmore said.
“I knew before the game there had to be a loser and there had to be a winner, but full credit to the Breakers, they were too good and taught us a lesson.
“They out-enthused us; they wanted it more.”
Breakers coach Digby Murray was pleased with the comprehensive performance from his side, but he wasn’t surprised.
“We knew we could get them if we had a decent team on the park,” he said.
“They really believed and stuck to what we do well and we knew if we could restrict them to 10 or 12 points we’d get the win.”
The win was the Breakers first premiership since 2010 and Murray believed it was the first since both sides have been in the same Group 3 competition.
“As far as I’m aware the premierships we’ve won have been when the Sharks have been in Group 2. It shows we’re going in the right direction.”
The coach was full of praise for his five-eighth and captain who stuck solid at the start of the year when other players were going elsewhere.
“Benny Stewart was fantastic and got railroaded early into what we thought we had,” Murray said.
“We had a number of people sign for us and it looked like we had a good side but they chose to go elsewhere and chase their dreams.
“We’re interested in people coming to our club that want to stay.”
Murray felt the Sharks were ripe for the picking, but felt his side offered them a few chances to get back in the game in the second half.
“All that matters is what happens on grand final day,” Murray said.
“They had a few out so if we were ever going to get the Sharks it was going to be today.”
Halfback Josh Hyde also played his part in the win, scoring a try that put the result beyond doubt.
Last year he won the premiership with the Hastings Valley Vikings, but this year it was with the Breakers.
Last year the Breakers fell at the final hurdle and this year it seems like a distant memory.