SOUTH Kolan's Colin Moran was a shattered man at the end of the 2013 Northern Districts Rugby League season. As captain-coach of the Sharks he was at the helm for a winless season.
Running through his head were the words 'enough is enough' as he threw his boots into a rubbish bin and he vowed he wouldn't step foot on a rugby league field again - this from a player who had won a grand final in 2012 with the Sharks.
A few months later Moran heard the Sharks were struggling for players and with a bit of spare time on his hands, he raced out, bought a new pair of boots and suited up for the season.
South Kolan started with a 100-point loss and it looked like history would repeat itself, but after coach Dean Akers got re-inforcements, Moran has the chance to win another title when the Sharks play Avondale in the grand final Sunday at Miriam Vale.
Moran explained his decision to come out of a brief retirement and said there was one part of the game his team had to perform well in if it was to get over the top of the in-form Tigers.
"To win in 2012 was bloody good, then to not win a game the next year was a bit hard to cop - but this is good reward," Moran said.
"I know you never say never but they were a bit short on players, so I went out to give the boys a hand.
"The game will be won up front for sure. The forwards need to lay a platform for the backs."
While Moran sat on the sidelines at the end of the 2013 season the Avondale captain, Daniel Steemson, was proudly lifting the premiership trophy with his teammates in a stark contrast of fortunes. Just 12 months later the win means nothing when Avondale and South Kolan start the game at 0-0 on the scoreboard.
In the face of the South Kolan assault will be Avondale's captain, Steemson, and coach Mick O'Sullivan was full of praise for the tough-as-nails back-rower.
"I have the greatest admiration for that guy - his maturity has picked up this year," O'Sullivan said.
"This year he is playing a lot smarter and he really deserves back-to-back grand final wins."
The maturity O'Sullivan spoke about is evident by the amount of time Steemson spent on the sidelines in 2014. In a preliminary final loss in 2012 Steemson was booked for striking and missed nearly half of the next season.
Steemson has controlled his aggression this year and is the leader the Tigers needed.
O'Sullivan said there was little focus on South Kolan because he knows if he shuts one player down there will be three others who will fill the void.