REIGNING premiers Sawtell have put opposition clubs on notice that they will once again be the team to beat in 2009 after a successful raid in Armidale over the weekend.
Playing in the Tablelands Cup, an annual lightning premiership hosted by the New England Nomads, the Saints went through the entire day undefeated and ran away from their opponents in the grand final.
With the nucleus of the team that has taken them to three premierships in the last four years Sawtell started the day slowly against the Tamworth Swans before five unanswered goals in the second half showed that they were ready to click into gear.
Tackling the hosts in their second pool match who now have former Coffs Swans midfielder Hamish Pearce in their ranks, the Saints ran away to a four-goal half-time lead but appeared to put the cue in the rack as the Nomads kicked the opening three majors of the second half to cut the margin back to single-figures.
It was the team's lesser lights like defender Tim Chuhaj, Elliott Schmitt on the wing and Daniel Shipley and Scott Matthews around the ground that steadied the ship to see the Saints gain the win to finish on top of their pool ladder and into the final.
Facing the Gunnedah Bulldogs in the final, the Saints found themselves facing popular clubman Josh Edwards who has moved west.
Sawtell jumped out of the blocks and never looked like relinquishing the lead as they had too much fitness around the ground to romp to a 39-point victory.