CUP RUN ENDS: Pythons beat Turtles to claim first title
RUGBY UNION: Third time was the charm for the Bundaberg Pythons.
The Pythons ended the reign of the Turtles Brothers on Saturday night, beating the eight-time defending champions 26-23 to take the crown.
A late try to Pythons player Corey Chapman ended the most dominant record by one team in a competition in Bundy.
"We were pretty nervous for a while but our backs showed their class in the end to score a try an seal the game for us," Pythons prop Luke Scully said.
"Our cover defence was the number one thing for us winning.
"We were able to scramble really quickly.
"But credit to Turtles, they played pretty well."
The Pythons got the early lead, with a strong breeze, and led 14-0 before the Turtles came back through penalties and a couple of tries.
The Turtles scored 23 of the next 29 points as the game became close at the end like the previous grand finals between the two sides.
This time the Pythons got on top, unlike the last two occasions, with the side scoring when it counted to deliver a first title to the club since it started in 2015.
Scully said the difference between the past two years and Saturday night was one thing.
"This year we managed to keep a core group of players," he said.
"We stuck together and formed a good camaraderie."
But there were moments of doubt when the game got close.
"We were clutching for straws," Scully said.
"But then our backs just did what they did best and show their class."
Turtles coach Luke McCloskey said the Pythons deserved to win and couldn't fault his side.
"They did everything I asked," he said.
"We know what it is like to win those matches, we've been in numerous occasions where it has happened.
"They got a lucky break and credit to them for winning."
The club will now build for next year and aim for a ninth title in the past 10 seasons.
And McCloskey was quick to look at the past triumphs and the success the club had over the past eight years.
"We've worked hard from a club that had small beginnings," he said.
"Now we're affiliated to Brothers we are a stronger club.
"Our club is in good shape and we will come back next year and aim to win.
"The pressure is off us now."
The new Spring Cup season is expected to start this October. There is more on the competition this week.