It was the pre-season chat which inspired a premiership.
Still hurting from last year’s loss to Wollongong Lions, Kiama coach Rod Richards asked captain Alex Perger to have one more crack at it.
It was a big call for 32-year-old Perger, who’d lost two grand finals when at the Wollongong Bulldogs and another two with the Power.
Maybe it was better to put the boots away and spend the extra time with his three-year-old son Nixon and one-year-old boy Owen.
Richards had his own baggage to carry, having lost four grand finals himself, as well as two more when playing rugby league.
But on Saturday, not even a blistering 15-minute onslaught from the Lions would stop them from finally wearing the winners medallions.
“If we didn’t do it today, I was giving it up,” Richards said.
“That was my seventh go and my first win.”
Perger held Lions spearhead James Adamson goalless at North Dalton Park.
The Lions had launched an early blitz to kick the first three and a 22-point quarter-time lead, but only managed one for the rest of the game. Perger had been staring at the ceiling past midnight on grand final eve, as the self-doubt crept in, and was up at 6am with the kids.
“I was 0-4, you just think ‘I’m never going to win a flag,” Perger said.
“I felt a bit different today though, I was a bit more relaxed.
“Usually I’m so nervous I want to throw up and there were a few guys who did before the game.
“I had (Nixon and Owen’s) names and my wife Renae written on my strapping, just to remind you to do it for them.
“On the other hand I had 'punch the ball’ written, Jimmy (Adamson) is such a great player and in the past I’ve often not been able to get to the ball against him.”
Josh Krull finished with three goals and Charlie Wood two, while Jack Mahony was rated best-on-ground, as the Power won their first flag since 2011.
The Power had reduced the margin to four by half-time and led by eight with one term to play.
But where they were overwhelmed last year, handing up a 12-point lead to lose by 15, this time Kiama were in control.
“Our back six were outstanding again,” Richards said.
“They’ve only given up four goals and two were from free kicks.
“(Assistant and former Power premiership coach) Terry Little has done a sensational job with how we defend.
“Perger’s the best fullback in the league, he’s done a great job keeping Adamson goalless.”
But even now he’s finally broken through to a win a premiership, Perger hasn’t ruled out playing on.
“No definites,” he said, taking another lengthy glance at his medal.
“I’ll speak to Rocket (Richards) and see what he’s doing. If he wants to attempt to go back-to-back, I might come back.”
AFL SOUTH COAST
Saturday at North Dalton Park
KIAMA 8.6 (54)
Goals: J Krull 3, C Wood 2, J Lawrence, T Cole, S Phillips.
Best: J Mahony, S Brierty, C Wood, J Krull, B Hoctor, S Phillips.
WOLLONGONG LIONS 5.11 (41)
Goals: T Bishop 2, H Freund, C Cook.
Best: O Christie, J Tier, J Hogarth, R Watson, C Cook, H Freund.