When the full time whistle went on Sunday evening, there was a sense of relief and exhilaration on the faces of the Boambee players. Playing in their third successive grand final, the Eagles had finally won.
For this crop of players, it was a new experience and one richly deserved after their dominance of the competition. In fact, Boambee has been at least as good as their rivals for a few years now, but unable to deliver in the season decider.
In 2012, the Boambee girls had a shocker in the grand final, but it was their first and they were up against some seasoned campaigners from the Urunga Raiders. Last year, they narrowly missed out on the minor premiership, but moved into the grand final as favourites, only to go down the Coffs City United, who came from fourth place to be crowned champions.
On Sunday, however, the Boambee girls laid those demons to rest with a comfortable 3-2 victory over Coffs City United, who were arguably a better side this year than in 2013. It was made to look close by a late Coffs City United goal, but in reality, Boambee had locked the game up by that stage and deserved their victory.
Goals to Kylie McDonald (2) and Lillie Moye were enough to put Boambee out to a handy lead, although Lionesss' captain, Hannah Hewlett, pegged one back at least.
The drew to a frantic conclusion, however, with the Lionesses trailing 3-1 and throwing everything at the Boambee defence, which had coped pretty well all afternoon.
The Lionesses put the ball through for Rebeka Tong with five minutes remaining, but before Tong could get a foot to it, Boambee 'keeper, Sheridan Watkins, came sliding to the edge of the penalty area to take the ball in the gloves and foil the attack. Unfortunately, Watkins was actually on the edge of the D, not the 18 yard box and was relieved not to receive a caution.
The resulting free kick was hit hard & low, but straight to Watkins who was able to smother the ball and then clear it to safety.
It found its way back again, however, and not too long after Tong had her goal after some neat work to get around the outside right back before bringing the ball to the front of goal. Her shot was pinpoint accurate and all of a sudden, it was 3-2 and game on.
Unfortunately for Coffs City United, there was hardly time for the kick off and when the 90 minutes were up, the Eagles had buried the ghosts of the past and claimed the titles as minor premiers and 2014 Champions.
The reserve grade team, also minor premiers, had a convincing 6-1 win to round off a perfect weekend for the Boambee girls. Adrian Pickup deserves plenty of accolades for getting two squads to the minor premiership and grand final glory. Naturally, when you have a strong team, you start to attract the stronger players and Boambee have done a bit of that too.
But it has to start with developing a strong football culture in the club, even when the teams are under-performing and Boambee have certainly done that. Just look at what the Boambee men have achieved in the past year.
No doubt, the other clubs will hit back next year; particularly the Lionesses and the Urunga Raiders, who are the only two teams capable of going the distance with Boambee at the moment.
But each new year brings its own challenges with players moving on and younger ones coming in. Interestingly, of those three teams, only Urunga had a 16 years girls team this year from which to draw players in 2015 and none had a 14 years team, which would be the next pool from which to select seniors.
So, it would appear that success in 2015 will be a matter of keeping squads together. You hardly imagine the Boambee girls would want to leave now.