Incredible scenes as Sharks snatch title from jaws of defeat
You wouldn't read about it. Until now.
In perhaps the most bizarre finish to a rugby league grand final, Souths rode the bumps, bruises and an incredible piece of luck to claim the Reserve Grade premiership at BB Print Stadium yesterday.
With five seconds remaining and Wests in possession and ahead by two points, an inexplicable error in throwing the ball forward in celebration before the time was up gifted Souths a most remarkable chance to send the match into extra time.
With a vocal Wests crowd drowning out his every thought, Sharks skipper Aaron Hughes calmly converted the subsequent penalty from the sideline to send the grand final into extra time.
Neither side could hit pay dirt until the dying stages, when Souths created an overlap on the grandstand sideline and the Sharks crowd rose as one to usher in the most unlikely of grand final victories.
Hughes was adjudged best on-ground for his match-winning performance, which included the opening try of the match and clutch conversion attempt.
Not known for his goal kicking, Hughes admitted to being incredibly nervous as he lined up to take the kick.
"I looked over at the coaching staff hoping they weren't saying take the two,” the halfback said.
"I was pretty nervous. I'm not usually a goal kicker.
"What a moment! It's what you dream of, to do something to keep your team in a final. Absolutely unreal.”
As his teammates celebrated after the kick sailed through, Hughes surprised even himself with his steely resolve.
"After the kick I was pretty calm. I had to calm the boys down to get ready for another 10 minutes,” he said.
Twice beaten in grand finals, Hughes welcomed the fortunate series of events which helped shape the happiest moment of his career.
"Nothing like this. Nothing so tight,” he said of his previous finals experiences.
"This was something special. My first grand final win. Third time's the charm.”
Rugby League Mackay & District Reserve Grade Grand Final
Souths Sharks 32 def Wests Tigers 26 at BB Print Stadium