Narwan Eels have one hurdle to overcome to land the fairytale finish to their return to the Group 19 competition.
The Eels booked themselves a spot in the big dance next Saturday after a late triumph against arch-rivals Moree Boomerangs in the semi-final.
It was a game which had everything, bone crunching tackles, runaway tries, momentum changes and even a sinbinning but it was the home side who finished in front when the final whistle sounded.
It didn’t take long for Narwan to post points with centre Jared Edwards steaming on to the ball for a try three minutes in.
Barely five minutes passed before Fred Waters received a clean pass to stroll over for his side’s second four-pointer.
Moments after the restart, Edwards once again proved how hard he is to stop close to the line when he muscled over and bagged his second.
Fullback John Roberts continued to trouble the ‘Rangs with his strong running game and got in on the try-scoring act when he reached out and planted the ball down next to the posts to give his team a 22-nil advantage.
John Roberts reaches out and plants the ball down next to the posts. Freddy Waters converts. 22-nil— Ellen Dunger (@ellen_159) September 10, 2017
Down but not out, the ‘Rangs made their way up the other end of the field and Kyle Saunders capitalised.
The momentum had well and truly swung Moree’s way by half-time with Lloyd Munro and James Smith earning tries and, at 22-16, were within striking distance.
At the start of the second stanza Moree were firing and Allan McKenzie Junior levelled the scores before Jason Saunders gave the ‘Rangs the edge.
Close to the Moree-line, Narwan’s Wes Kelly managed to free his arm from the tacklers for Paul Quinlan to dive over in the corner.
Kyle Saunders brought up his brace with a try four minutes later and Moree were eight points in front with 17 minutes left on the clock.
A scrum 30 metres out from the ‘Rangs line saw Gary Quinlan surge into the clear only to be brought down one metre out.
A shift wide to Wes Kelly brought the goods and Narwan were brought the defecit back to just two.
Into the last 10 minutes and Clarrie Moran soared on to the ball to plant it down under the posts and suddenly Narwan were in front 38-34.
Ryan Kelly sealed the win for the Eels with a try on the full-time siren to bring the final score up to 44-34.
The win and spot in Saturday’s grand final against MacIntyre Warriors has capped off the club’s successful return to Group 19 after 12 years out of the competition.
Coach Peter Moran was lost for words at the club’s climb to be one of the final two standing in the A grade competition.
“It is unexplainable,” he said.
“We have worked so hard in the last few weeks, myself, the club, the players and our coaching staff.”
When the momentum changed late in the first half, Moran had simple instructions for his side to come back.
“You can't give a side like Moree Boomerangs too much ball,” he said.
“If we got 60-40 per cent of the possession I knew we would come out on top.
“Same with them, if they were to get more possession in the last 10 minutes I think they would have come out on top.”
If Narwan’s game against MacIntyre last week is anything to go by, the grand final will be a cracker.
Moran hopes his side can eliminated the penalties from their game and believes they have the ability to claim the silverware.
“We are just going to train and work a lot harder,” he said.
“There are a couple of things I want to do around the ruck. We will go out there well prepared for them.”