GLORY TO GLORY: Rebels sing loud and proud in grand final
RUGBY LEAGUE: Their defence has withstood every test thrown at it this season, but none was tougher for the South Grafton Rebels league tag side than the grand final.
After a gruelling hour in the wet, it was only the belief in each other that willed the South Grafton side to a determined 8-4 victory at Geoff King Motors Oval.
The win over a valiant Sawtell Panthers outfit allowed the Rebels to avenge 12 months of heartache and lift the Glyde Family Trophy.
At times it wasn't pretty, but it was effective from the Rebels, who managed to absorb everything Sawtell threw at them in the second half.
"I honestly thought we were going to crack,” Rebels captain Heidi Dalton said. "All I kept thinking about was the major semi-final against the Ghosts.
"We stood tall through seven repeat sets in that game, and I kept thinking "if we could hold out the Ghosts, we can hold out these girls”.
"It was a bloody tough effort from the girls.”
Led by a spirited effort from captain Greta Smith, Sawtell refused to die wondering, throwing everything in their arsenal at the Rebels outfit.
But it was a determined dummy-half effort from Carmel Walker on the stroke of halftime that proved the difference between the two sides.
"This is the best feeling ever,” Walker said. "We came so close last year, we were really heartbroken, we had pushed it right to the limit but we weren't good enough.
"I have played it over in my head a bit this week, it definitely fuelled us.
"Our defence has been second to none this season, and I had full confidence in the side. To win this is just amazing.”
Walker was quick to heap praise on their opposition, commending Sawtell for unwilting tenacity in the decider.
"All credit to them, it was a really tough game, we always knew they were a good side but we didn't expect them to come with that much strength,” she said.
The Rebels were planning celebrations long into the night at Walker's Marina Hotel, and it is understood they had a healthy bar tab which has been building over the season.
Alinta Carpenter was the other player to score for the premiers after breaking through midway through the first half.