Chants of "Counties, Counties" by the 12,000-strong crowd at ECOLight Stadium on Friday took a few former Counties greats back to their playing days, as Mitch Hyde found out.
Counties legend, ex-captain and the only Steelers player to reach 200 provincial caps, Alan Dawson was in Pukekohe on Friday night as the Steelers put on a superb 80-minute display to win the ITM Cup Championship.
The atmosphere at ECOLight Stadium filled him with an immense sense of pride.
"It was an awesome moment for me, I am very proud, I have not been that proud for a while," Dawson said, "especially because of the way those boys won it with the forwards doing their bit, working for the backline."
As the Steelers looked to seal the win, the crowd at the stadium in Pukekohe got behind their side, rousing them on.
A bellowing chant reverberated around the stadium, starting on the slippery grass bank filled with passionate Steelers devotees.
As the slow-driven chorus of "Counties, Counties" worked its way around the stadium it found its way into the supporters' lounge where Dawson was sitting.
"It was loud, we even had enough of us there to start a chorus of 'United we Stand, Together we Fall' which was a big song for us in our day," Dawson said.
Not present at the game on Friday night due to work and surf club commitments but watching on television were ex-players Dean Sheppard and Jim Coe who said the victory was huge for the union and rugby in the area.
Sheppard, who played from 1992 to 1997 and Coe, 1986 to 1999, were part of the team that claimed the Steelers' last title in 1993.
It was a famous victory for the Steelers that lifted them into the top NPC division in a game also against Otago.
Coe said the similarities between the two games filled him with pride.
"Both teams had a commitment to win, back then and now Friday night, it was a win and that's what counts," Coe said.
"I'm immensely proud of their effort. It brought a bit of a lump to my throat because I'm a Counties boy through and through.
"I feel justifiably proud that they did what they did and got the union back into the Premiership."
Sheppard also saw comparisons between the two teams.
"I suppose going back to us, we always attempted to play an expansive game, an exciting game and I think that's something that the modern team do as well," Sheppard said.
"There is a lot of natural ability and some very talented players in the side, it's been great to see them score nice tries, it's been fantastic."
"This is a team on the up and they will go as far as they want," Dawson said.
Watching intently as their season developed, Dawson said he could see the same steely, hardened attitude in the players that was seen in his time in the Steelers jersey.
The all-or-nothing approach was prominent in the success of the Steelers this season and if you look back on the bonus points gained per match the evidence is apparent.
"The game plan throughout the year pretty much happened, like us they focused on the four tries winning a match," said Dawson.
"One try meant nothing to us, four tries should win the game.
"There is a lot of character in that team and I have to take my hat off to Tana."
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