The Moruya Sharks under 18s team won a titanic battle against the combined Merimbula-Pambula-Eden-CBU team to book a place the grand final.
The Sharks scored a last-gasp win and will face the undefeated Bega Roosters at Bega Recreation ground on Sunday.
It was a historic outcome as Moruya has three teams playing on grand final day for the first time.
On Sunday, the Sharks drew first blood from a try to Casey Jackson in the seventh minute.
However, unforced errors crept into Moruya’s play and the combined side was gifted a soft try, which was duly converted in the 25th minute.
The score remained the same and Merimbula led 6-4 at half-time.
The second half started badly for the Sharks.
Poor ball control cost Moruya attacking opportunities and a fumbled pass rebounded to an unmarked opponent, who ran 80 metres to score Merimbula’s second try, just two minutes into the second half.
The conversion was successful and the combined side skipped to a 12-4 lead.
The Sharks regained composure and cut the margin through a try out wide to classy centre Indiana Jones.
The touch judges waved the conversion away and the Sharks trailed 12-8.
Moruya continued to be solid in defence but failed to assert itself offensively, as handling errors plagued their attack.
Merimbula had several sets on Moruya’s try line but could not break through.
A key point in the match occurred with 15 minutes remaining.
The combined team earned a penalty in front of the goal posts and opted to take a penalty goal to make it 14-8.
The Sharks gained resolve from the penalty goal, not conceding a try, despite intense pressure.
Moruya took control of the final minutes and broke through the defensive line.
The hard-work of hook Byron Brunhuber paid off when he forced his way across the try line to score.
Jacob Zutt converted and the score was tied at 14-all with seven minutes remaining.
Play was end-to-end and, with seconds remaining, Moruya worked its way into field-goal range.
The ball was snapped to halfback Niles Brigden, who calmly slotted a drop goal as the siren sounded in the background.
The Sharks ran in three tries to two, but will need to improve their ball control to have any success against Bega.
The best for the Sharks against the combined team was Brigden, Brunhuber and Zutt, while Chris O’Meley and Jesse Robertson worked tirelessly all day.
Moruya Sharks 15 (tries: Casey Jackson, Indiana Jones and Byron Brunhuber; goals: Jacob Zutt; field goal: Niles Brigden) defeated Merimbula-Pambula-Eden-CBU 14.