AFTER two years of grand final heartbreak, there were tears of joy for the CSU Mungoes on Saturday when defeating the Orange Barbarians 30-0 in the New Era Cup grand final.
As the full-time siren sounded at Diggings Oval, Mungoes players sprinted from the bench to embrace their team-mates, while other CSU talents collapsed on the ground as they were overcome with emotion.
CSU made a brilliant start to the decider, with fullback Sam Groom scoring a try in the second minute on the back of a 50-metre run.
From there the Mungoes were never troubled.
Groom could hardly talk after the siren, overcome with what had just occurred.
"You know when NRL players win grand finals and they start crying and you don't know why, you just won? But there is so much emotion that goes into the past couple of grand finals, and winning feels amazing, and to do it with this bunch of boys after the past couple of years feels great," Groom said.
This grand final, which came after falling to Wallerawang and Blackheath in successive seasons, could be the last for many of the CSU team. Groom said that it was a fitting farewell.
"I was talking to Dicko [Billy Dickinson] over the year, we have been through three grand finals together and it was his last year and all we wanted to do was win it together, it feels awesome," Groom said. "For him and for some of the old boys like Zac [Leach Deahm] and Oscar [Thorburn], it could be their last grand final and it feels awesome to get it for them as well."
Orange looked in trouble from the start and things got worse with winger Brent Kuczinski helped from the field after suffering a head injury in a tackle.
With CSU dominating possession and field position, captain Billy Dickinson and the rest of his troops could show their talent. The Mungoes' second try came off the back of a long range pass to Lachlan Balcombe, who subsequently crossed in the left corner.
The tries kept coming quick and fast with eventual man of the match, hooker Callum Flanagan scoring next after a great run from Dickinson.
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There was some pressure for hosts seven minutes before half-time when reduced to 12 men after Kris Kennedy was sin binned for a professional foul.
However, Orange couldn't take advantage.
The second half started with a penalty goal for CSU and a knee injury for Josh Byron, who fell badly after an attempted catch. He took no further part.
But soon after a superb line break by Dickinson led to another try - Balcombe the benefactor - and with the conversion it was 26-0.
With five minutes remaining, Flanagan iced CSU's win when he broke five tackles to score, making it 30-0.
CSU president and lock Jacob Watkin said that it was the team's attitude that helped seal the cup.
"The way we came into training last week we really got around one another, we didn't talk, we knew what to do and then today we had no nonsense in the warm up and just carried that into the game," he said.