PORT City Breakers centre Conrad Lardner overcame the loss of grandma Carmel last Sunday to inspire his side to a 22-10 grand final victory over Port Sharks.
Lardner was player of the match as the Breakers avenged their major semi-final defeat from two weeks ago.
In the reserve grade decider, scores were locked at 6-all at the break, before the Breakers kicked clear to register a comfortable win.
Lardner scored a second half try to extend the Breakers lead to 12-6, looking up at the heavens in the process.
“(My nan) always said I’d be a good player, but I got over the line for her and looked up and said ‘this is for you,’” Lardner said.
“It really hurt me, but we got through and I hope she can see me right now.
“It has been a tough week, but we’ve put in hard at training all week and I’m really happy to win it."
Lardner said the support of his teammates throughout the week had helped him register his first grand final success at his third attempt.
“It means everything, I’ve been in three grand finals and made one move to the Breakers and won the grand final.”
Sharks captain Jarid Bruen said a lack of possession in the Breakers part of the field proved their downfall.
“We didn’t get enough ball and every error we made they acted on and scored tries,” he said.
“If you don’t get the ball, you can’t score the points. We fought on til the end, but the effort was there.”
It was the Sharks second successive grand final defeat after they went down 10-6 to Wingham last year.
“It sucks, but you can’t lose getting good mates for the whole year, it’s more important than winning a grand final,” Bruen said.
“I cant single anyone out, they all dug deep til the end. We’ll regroup and hopefully have another go next year.”
In an end-to-end first half, the sides couldn’t be separated as they went into the sheds locked at 6.
The Breakers looked the more threatening side throughout the opening exchanges but they couldn't land the killer blow.
However, halfway through the first half Port City centre Conrad Lardner broke the Sharks defence wide open but was chopped down by winger Jack Ah You short of the try-line.
The referee deemed Ah You laid on Lardner for a little too long and he was sent to the sinbin for 10-minutes.
Minutes later, the Breakers eventually were rewarded for their pressure as Dylan Wilkins ran onto an inside ball and carved straight through middle.
The lock used his footwork to bamboozle Sharks defender Kieran Gallagher and Wilkins scored to the left of the posts.
With the end of the first half approaching, the Sharks hit back through individual brilliance from Jarid Bruen-Ansell.
The Port Macquarie halfback used his footwork and speed to break the Port City defensive line and dive over from close range.