A Northern Rivers junior rugby league team who had to borrow jerseys just to play, have taken out the under-16s Andrew Johns Cup in stunning fashion.
The team has been playing in the competition over the past month and had limited training and preparation due to the ongoing flood crisis across the region.
They lost most of their equipment including two sets of jerseys with players based from Grafton through to Tweed.
Northern Rivers were loaned a set of jerseys from the Gold Coast Titans and wore them in a 24-22 win over the Macarthur West Tigers in the final at St Marys Leagues Stadium in Sydney on Sunday.
"To find this bunch of boys is unbelievable," Northern Rivers coach Shaun Davison said.
"They're great representatives for the northern rivers areas. We talked about all the struggles back home everyone's going through, so it means a lot.
Northern Rivers looked gone for all money trailing 22-18 after Macarthur laid on back-to-back tries in the final 10 minutes.
Centre Ricco Waititi broke numerous tackles in the final 23 seconds before passing back inside for halfback Zane Harrison to score.
Five-eighth Callum Bowles converted after the fulltime siren to snatch the win while Harrison picked up man-of-the-match honours.
"I'm just stoked for the boys they pulled that out of the fire," Davison said.
"All year we've had to grind out every game, no game has come easy to us, so we talked about playing the full 60 minutes and we won on the 60th so that was really important to us.
"I was confident, we only had two minutes to go but we know that left edge is a lethal edge, we've got some great players on that left edge.
"I was confident if we could just get another set; because that second-last set we showed our hand by playing there. "The boys identified the space there and they iced it." It is the second time Northern Rivers has won the Andrew Johns Cup after it was first played in 2018.
Meanwhile, the Northern Rivers open team went down 26-16 in its final against the Illawarra South Coast Dragons
The Dragons were always in control of the final after establishing a 16-0 lead at half-time and they took advantage of Northern Rivers captain Joe Besgrove being sent to the sin bin in the second half to score two quick tries and extend the lead to 26-4. Northern Rivers dominated the early rounds of the competition with big wins over Newcastle and the Greater Northern Tigers.
We talked about all the struggles back home everyone's going through, so it means a lot.- Northern Rivers coach Shaun Davison
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