IT wasn't until the final two minutes of the Eastern Football League division 2 grand final that Rowville coach Paul Mynott could believe his side had won the premiership.
For every minute previous he had stressed over his side as it came from behind to take a three-quarter-time lead in a scrappy, contested final against Montrose at Jubilee Park, Ringwood, on Saturday.
But with two minutes to go in the match it finally dawned on Mynott that his side had not only won the premiership, it had also regained its place in division 1 of the EFL competition after several years in the lower divisions.
"With two minutes to go I thought the way we were playing Montrose wasn't going to score again," he said. "It was a great feeling, even if it was only for a minute or so. It's unbelievable, something we have worked for so long, so to finally see it come was pretty special I reckon."
Division 2 has forged a reputation over the past few seasons as the tightest, most difficult division to win with only 10 sides in the competition and all desperate to move into the EFL's top flight.
This year was no different with the Hawks, Montrose Demons and Mooroolbark all beating each other over the course of the year.
The Demons beat the Hawks in the major semi-final to get the direct berth in the grand final, a loss which Mynott said helped his side adjust to the bigger grounds used in EFL finals.
"Playing three matches in the finals helped," he said. "On those bigger grounds it's a different game so we needed the game time."
The Demons' week of rest looked an advantage in the first quarter as they took a two-goal lead.
Mynott said his side was playing too defensive in the opening half, kicking two just goals as the Demons took a slim lead into the long break.
"We asked the players to take the game on in the second half," he said. "With that strong wind the game was hardly a great spectacle and both sides were looking to play on the scoreboard side of the ground.
"I told the boys I'd rather we lose taking risks and looking to play through the middle of the ground than get beat defending the game," he said. "They reacted to that."
The Hawks made the match-winning move, kicking five goals to two for the third quarter taking a 17-points lead into the final term.
Despite missing some chances to ice the game in the final term, the Hawks still did enough to come away with the cup, winning by 12 points and moving into division 1 in 2013.
Injured captain Matt Stanley and ruckman Mitch Garner overcame their injuries to play in the grand final with Stanley kicking a vital goal in the third term and Garner rucking lifting in the second half. Rowville's Alex Frawley won the Blue Ribbon medal for best player in the game.
2012 EFL division 2 grand final
Rowville 1.3, 2.3, 7.7, 8.10 (58) Montrose 3.1, 3.2, 5.2, 7.4 (46)
Goals — Rowville: C Morris 4, L Scanlan 1, N Hicks 1, M Jackson 1, M Stanley 1. Montrose: B Schilling 2, M Edwards 1, D Stephen 1, A Cook 1, D Rickard 1.
Best — Rowville: A Frawley, J Kinder, N Schoenmakers, M McAra, M Davey, J Powell. Montrose: D Stephen, A Haining, J Goodman, S Goodman, S Rickard, M Langdon.