They say grand finals are won, or lost, at the advantage line.
Where forwards have to dominate and set the platform for their side.
When Tigers prop Blake Debreceny looks back on his effort in the 2016 Hastings League grand final 29-26 victory, he can be well satisfied that he met and exceeded both these expectations.
Coach Dean Hurrell said the Tigers had to hang on desperately in the final minutes and was full of praise for his forward.
“Blake got through a mountain of work and it’s good to see him have such a big game,” he said.
“He does so much for the club through his role on the committee.”
In front of a booming crowd at the Lank Bain Sporting Complex, Kendall drew first blood with a try to hooker Glen Bampton inside the first two minutes.
The Tigers hit back when Dean Hurrell cut through the defence to score eight minutes in and when Matt Phillpott landed the extras it gave the Tigers a 6-4 lead.
The Blues looked dangerous out wide and Kenny Young crossed after some good ball movement. Fellow centre Tamati Wigman added the extras the Blues take the lead 10 to 6 at the 13th minute mark.
The Tigers crossed for three unanswered tries to Josh Dorrington, Dion Debreceny and Blake Reis while Phillpott booted two conversions and Shawn Madeley one to lead 24 points to 10.
Young scored his second try and Wigman booted the conversion leaving Kendall behind 24-16 at the break.
The Tigers were first to score in the second half when prop Dean Cook carried three over the line, the Tigers move ahead 28 to 16.
The next 25 minutes was just some good football with plenty of ball movement and strong defence from both sides.
Blues full back Daniel Minns, who looked dangerous every time he touched the ball, scored from a long way out after beating several defenders.
Wigman made no mistake with the conversion and the Blues closed the gap 28 points to 22.
With eight minutes left the Tigers half and coach Dean Hurrell snapped an important field goal to push his side to beyond a converted try gap. Brad Smith had the last say with a late try to leave the final score 29-26.
Hastings League secretary Geoff Connor described the match as ‘a great exhibition of rugby league’.
“There were many great performances from players from both sides as well as the man in the middle referee Mick Bannerman who kept the game flowing with only six penalties in the game,” Connor said.
Debreceny was named player of the grand final.