Mounties finished the Sydney Shield season at the top of the competition ladder and boasted the best attacking and defensive record of any side in 2017, however were unable to deliver a fairytale finish after going down 34-20 to St Marys in the grand final.
While both teams lost in their respective qualifying finals, it was St Marys halves pairing of Jake Toby and Aidan Glanville who inspired their side to premiership glory.
Glanville opened the scoring for St Marys with a determined effort close to the try line, with the early opportunity courtesy of a crunching tackle from Toby that earned his side a repeat set of six.
Toby was ecstatic with his sides gutsy performance and was particularly impressed with the opening stanza that saw them run in four unanswered tries.
“I thought we came out in the first half pretty strong. We completed a lot better and our completion rate was up towards 80 per cent so that goes a lot towards our performance in the first half,” he said.
“They scored a quick try in the first half so that pushed us up a bit and how they boys showed up and defended - it was a good effort by the boys.”
Meanwhile, Sydney Shield Five-eighth of the Year Aidan Glanville spoke of the importance of his kicking game throughout the season but credits his form to his largely unheralded forward pack.
“We just needed to complete our sets and get to our kicks. We’ve been working on it for quite a while now and even at training this week.
“It was a great achievement to get Five-Eighth of the Year but its great because of the team and I just played off the back of them.”
Their dominant performance in the opening exchanges ultimately shocked Mounties into playing their attacking brand of football, but Toby knew that his side needed to continue the onslaught in the second half considering the abundance of talent in the minor premiers side.
“The message [at half-time] was just not to slack off and come out in the second half exactly like we did in the first-half,” Toby said.
“We just needed to rip into them.”
St Marys were able to hold on in their first clash this season with a gutsy 14-12 victory before a keeping the Mounties scoreless in a 38-0 whitewash in Round 16.
Despite claiming bragging rights heading into the decider, Toby knew a win wouldn’t come easy with a host of Mounties players in their squad absent from the previous two defeats.
“Both teams we meet them this year we got up but they didn’t have the team like they did today,” he said.
“The whole week we knew if we just completed our sets we could beat them, and we did that and worked hard.”