THE never-say-die Wollongong Bulldogs delivered a stunning final-quarter fightback to beat Kiama Power by eight points and complete a trilogy of epic grand finals between the competition powerhouses.
North Dalton Park erupted on the final siren after the Bulldogs rallied from 25 points down late in the third term to kick five of the last six goals in a 11.10 (76) to 10.8 (68) victory.
Three consecutive grand finals between the two teams have been decided by a combined 15 points. Kiama won with an after-the-siren goal in 2011, and Wollongong have now claimed back-to-back flags.
Wollongong have made the final every year since they joined the first-grade competition in 2010.
Coach Lee Murray was cheered by Bulldogs fans and players just seconds after the siren.
"I'm incredibly proud of how brave we were," an emotional Murray said.
"We didn't know we were beat. Maybe we were too stupid to think about it.
"To come back the way we did, to play to the final siren is pretty amazing."
The Dogs had heroes aplenty; led by small forward Nick Swiriduik, who turned the momentum of the final quarter with two goals, as did best-on-ground winner Tom Charles, who booted two of his three goals in the fourth term.
Andrew Barned kicked the Dogs' only two goals in the third term; his late goal reduced the margin to 19 points at the final change.
Alex Killalea was outstanding for the Dogs, while Murray hailed the performance of Cam Bailey in the ruck.
While Bulldogs fans celebrated, just a couple of handballs away Power players and supporters were forlorn.
After they had won the first three quarters and were in control, they'd blown a three-quarter time lead in the grand final for a second straight year.
"We ran out of legs," Power coach Rod Richards said.
"The big ground was supposed to suit but they ran over us."
Rob Beaumont, Scott Phillips, Glen Haworth and Sam Dowling were among Kiama's best.
While the Power will rue a lost opportunity, they've made the grand final in four of the past five years, with wins in 2009 and 2011, and will return a powerhouse in 2014.