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PORT City Breakers’ back-to-back premiership success brought coach Dan Kemp to his knees just after full-time.
The man who rarely shows emotion was on the verge of tears as his side completed an undefeated season to claim the Group 3 first grade premiership with a 28-20 win on Sunday.
They did it the hard way and had to work for it against a gallant Macleay Valley side.
“It was relief I suppose, you work so hard since last November and then to finally do it … it’s all over and we got it,” Kemp said.
“I was stoked.”
The Breakers did it the hard way, but ultimately kept their cool the longest in an eight-point win which backed up their success from last year.
It maintained Kemp’s perfect coaching record.
After leading the club’s league tag side to undefeated premiership glory last year, Kemp did it again.
He didn’t seem to think he had what some would say is the Midas touch.
“It’s nothing to do with me, I’m just lucky to be part of a very good group … I play a very small part,” he said.
The emotion bubbled over as he realised the enormity of what the playing group had achieved.
“It’s one of the biggest moments in my life, it was massive,” he said.
“To go undefeated with those boys was incredible.”
Mustangs centre Stephan Blair set up a grandstand finish in the 72nd minute to close the gap to within eight points, but the Breakers held firm.
Kemp knew they were coming.
“It was never going to be over until the end,” he said.
“We did everything we didn’t want to do, but we toughed it out and we got there.”
After 25 years playing the game of rugby league, it was a fitting way for captain Ben Stewart to go out.
He will hang up the boots.
“We wanted to do everything we could to send him out a winner,” Kemp said.
“It was really fitting for him.”
The coach said he would be back again for another year in 2018.
“I’ll have a week off and then we’ll get ready for next year,” he said.
I’ll have a week off and then we’ll get ready for next year.
Captain Stewart said the match was a rollercoaster ride.
“Only having that one final and having all that time off – one game in four weeks – it makes you come out a little bit flat,” he said.
“We started off a bit slow and they got the jump on us, but once we kicked in and got our second wind our middles rolled forward and got over the top of them.”
Stewart said the side showed “unbelievable” character to turn the Mustangs away when the game was close.
“We knew we were going to hit a flat spot, but once we got through it we got a few tries and made them play catch-up footy.”