The Macleay Valley Mustangs dug deep and weathered an early storm to secure the Group Three Rugby League premiership with a 34-24 victory on Sunday
It completes a miraculous 12-month turnaround for the Mustangs, who were forced to withdraw from both senior grades midway through last season.
The premiership was decided in the final two minutes, as the Mustangs held a 30-24 edge but Wauchope were pressing.
The Blues earned a repeat set in an attacking position but a knock on from backrower Mat Bird on the first tackle resulted in the ball falling to the Wauchope's worst nightmare in Owen Blair.
The fullback, who is arguably the fastest player in the competition, latched onto the ball, stepped one defender and sprinted down the sideline to score the try which sealed the Mustangs' first premiership since 2014.
"I picked it up and was just thinking 'run'," Blair said.
"I could see Tristian coming across and I thought he was going to get me because I was out on my feet but I managed to get there.
"It was an incredible feeling. It's a great win for us players but it means a lot for the community, especially when you consider what people have been through over the past few years."
The Mustangs weren't in the game for the first 30-minutes, as errors and ill-discipline allowed Wauchope to camp down their end of the half.
Their ability to absorb the Blues' attacking raids kept them in the contest.
A nervous start from the Mustangs saw them commit two unforced errors from their opening two sets and it led to Wauchope centre Beau White crossing in the corner for the first try of the grand final.
The Blues continued to press and after a 20-minute onslaught, Wauchope doubled their lead to 12-0 through left centre Sam Watts.
With seven minutes left in the first half, the Mustangs were reduced to 12-men when Jesse Douglas was sin binned for repeat infringements.
Despite losing a man, the Mustangs kicked into gear, began to control possession and marched down the field.
Mustangs halfback Jeremy Taylor saw an overlap and darted to the side before he floated a cutout pass to winger David Davis to open Macleay Valley's account.
Minutes later a controversial penalty try was awarded that had shades of the 1999 NRL grand final.
David Davis was ruled to have been illegally tackled in the act of attempting to score a try after catching a cross field kick from Stephan Blair. The resulting conversion locked the scores up at 12 for half-time.
Mustangs' momentum continued after the break, as Stephan Blair cleaned up a Wauchope knock on and found Jeremy Taylor unmarked out wide, who sprinted in to give Macleay Valley their first lead of the match.
However, the Blues struck back immediately as Macleay Valley failed to complete their set from the kick off and Wauchope performed a short side set piece from the resulting scrum which saw Watts bag his second try to level the scores at 18.
But it did little to halt the Mustangs, as for the third consecutive finals match, captain and lock forward Richie Roberts barged his way over from close range to reinstate his side's lead.
Macleay Valley then almost extended their advantage on the back of an enterprising piece of play.
Taylor put in a midfield chip kick and a chasing Owen Blair received the dream bounce and was able to link with his brother Stephan but the ball was ruled forward.
The Mustangs were on a roll and after threatening to crack open the Blues defence on the ground, Stephan once again opted for a cross field kick.
Winger McKye Davis-Tucknott leaped above the pack, brought the ball down and reached out to give the Mustangs an eight-point lead with 14 minutes remaining.
The young winger, who had lined in the Under-18.5s grand final earlier in the day, was in for his second only two minutes later, when backrower Chris Piper attacked the blind side with a cutout pass to the winger from dummy-half.
Davis-Tucknott stepped off his right foot and used his strength to reach the try line with a fully outstretched arm.
Trailing by 12-points with under 10-minutes left, the Blues set up a grand stand finish when fullback Tony Thompson went over to reduce the deficit to six but Owen's match sealing try sent the Kempsey crowd into jubilation.
Mustangs coach Russell Lardner, who has worked incredibly hard behind the scenes with girlfriend Tanara Howarth, Roberts and experienced head Piper, let the tears flow after hearing the final siren.
Lardner reflected on the difficult journey the club embarked on over the past 12-months.
"When you think about where this club was a year ago, unable to finish the year in both senior grades, to then come back and win a premiership the following year - it's indescribable," Lardner said.
"I couldn't have done it without my girlfriend Tanara, Richie, Chris, all of the players and the community. We have received a lot of support and it's amazing to now be able to celebrate a premiership."
While the Mustangs were on the back foot for the first half an hour, Lardner never lost faith the tide would turn in their favour.
"We didn't have the ball at all in the first half and they should have been beating us by 50," he said.
"But we stuck in there for each other and once we got the ball in our hands we were able to level the scores.
"When we went into half-time at 12-all I knew we were going to win."
Mustangs captain Richie Roberts, who was playing in his sixth straight grand final, admitted today's had a different feeling.
"This one is special," Roberts said.
"It's going to take a while to sink in I think but I am just going to soak this feeling up and celebrate with my teammates."
Mustangs hooker Josef Barber was awarded the man of the match, on the back of a tireless performance.
Earlier in the day, the Mustangs Under-18.5s suffered a 26-12 defeat to the Old Bar Pirates.
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