Most rugby league teams would concede defeat when down 10 points and two players.
But the New Lynn Stags fought back to win the Phelan Shield grandfinal in a thriller against Papatoetoe 32-30.
The Stags were coasting 16-4 in the first half but lost two forwards to injuries which allowed the bigger Papatoetoe pack to gain momentum and take a commanding 30-20 lead in the second half.
Stags coach Revell Neal credits key players like Zac Tippins and Kurt Neal for leading a fightback.
"At 30-20 I saw the Papatoetoe players were celebrating and I think in their minds they had it won.
"But our players in key positions rallied the troops and I quickly realised the boys weren't going to give up without a fight," he says.
Elijah Ngata scored the game winner that sent the New Lynn supporters into party mode.
The Stags have qualified for the Sharman Cup next season but Neal says winning at Mt Smart Stadium was just as important.
"To get to run into the middle of the field with the boys is a huge deal," he says.
"There are a couple of our guys who have never won a championship before."
In the Sharman Cup grandfinal the Bay Roskill Vikings held a commanding 14-0 halftime lead against Pt Chevalier Pirates.
But the Blockhouse Bay club began to tire in the second half and the Stacey Jones coached Pirates went on to score 24 points to win 24-16.
Both sides will be promoted to the Fox Memorial competition in 2012.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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