An inspired Maitland Pickers almost pulled off an against-the-odds win losing by just two points to minor premiers South Newcastle in Sunday's Blues Tag grand final at Maitland Sportsground.
The Pickers had trailed 8-0 at half-time courtesy of a converted try and a long-range Amy Waterhouse penalty.
But, this Maitland side proved their never-say-die credentials and their enterprise and hard work in attack and defence eventually paid off when co-captain Amy Dufour scored under the uprights early in the second half.
Isabella Mattsson converted from in front of the posts and with the score at 8-6 it signalled a frenetic final 20 minutes in which the Pickers and Lions pushed, prodded and tried to stretch each other's defence without success.
Maitland pushed to the very end and the last play of the game was an attack on the Lions' line.
Pickers coach Tony Howard told his playing group they could not have put in any harder than they had and they should be proud of their efforts.
"That was a pretty special effort, to be down as far as we were. From 8-0 to come back I can't be any prouder of them," he said.
Dufour said she was extremely proud of the team's efforts and although it was disappointing to lose they had never given in.
"It was a tough game but we stuck in it right to the end," Dufour said.
"When we got the second try we lifted and just kept of pushing.
"I wasn't sure what the ref's call was going to be but I made sure to him that the ball was down first before I was tagged."