They’re the South Tamworth veteran trio who emerged from the pall of five straight grand final losses and bathed in the light of a long-awaited premiership at a sun-drenched No.1 Oval on Sunday.
For Angus McNeill, Tom Groth and Troy Osborne, the sole survivors of all five grand final wakes, the defeat of their nemesis, Old Boys, the tormentor of Souths in the past four season finales, was especially sweet.
“It’s been a long time coming, I’ll be honest,” said paceman McNeill, who took two wickets for the match. “Losing to Old Boys four times and Norths once, it’s really good to get back on top again.
“There were some bitter losses there, and we’d even won first innings in some of those games and ended up losing. So to finish it off today, and the way Tommy got us ahead, was incredible.”
Groth was Souths’ batting saviour, his 137 securing the side first-innings success and ultimately the win. Old Boys were generous in their appreciation of his innings upon its conclusion.
For the respected keeper, the victory comes two months after he won the national country championship with the Bush Blues.
He said: “There’s been a couple of grand finals in the last couple of years where I probably haven’t got the job done, so it’s really satisfying to contribute and get the boys well in front.”
Osborne, who took two wickets for the game, said the Old Boys battle “had been quite tough” on Souths. “And to their credit, they’ve been right on top of us up, until now,” he added.
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