From ninth in 2015 to within a kick of this year’s first grade crown, the Platypi went within seconds of pulling off another fairytale title run for Forbes, after their Group 11 side broke a 29-year drought last weekend.
Forbes coach Hare Lavaka lauded the effort from his men, with the likes of former Shute Shield No.8 Matt Coles leading the charge for the resurgent Blowes Clothing Cup outfit.
Ultimately, the right boot of Nigel Staniforth kicked Orange Emus to back-to-back Blowes Clothing Cup premierships for the first time since 2002.
With the score locked at 11-all deep into injury time, Emus were awarded a penalty after Forbes’ rock-solid scrum collapsed in the mud at Endeavour Oval.
Scoring all 11 of Emus’ points leading to that point, Staniforth stepped up to take the season-defining kick, and calmly slotted the winning points to hand his side the 2016 title in a pulsating, physically brutal encounter with the Platypi.
“We worked hard all year. We didn’t work just to make it, we worked to win it all,” Lavaka said, post a team huddle that included a large portion of the Platypi supporter base.
“At the end of the day that’s the way it finished. I said to them after the game, from where we were to where we are, the whole town is behind them, I’m very proud.”
With the defence from both sides as desperate as it was bruising, the three-point was an instant classic, albeit in atrocious conditions.
“I’ll take any premiership,” a beaming Staniforth said immediately after booting the winning kick.
Staniforth was the rock for Emus in a grueling encounter against a vastly improved Forbes outfit from the one that trotted out in 2015.
With Mahe Fangupo and Coles leading the charge for the resurgent Platypi, Forbes led 8-3 after Adam Hall’s three-pointer was added to by a Josh Coulthurst try in the first half.
Emus drew level thanks to a Staniforth try before, three minutes later, his ensuing penalty goal handed Emus an 11-8 advantage at the break – they wouldn’t score again until injury time.
A Jeff Stewart penalty drew the scores level at 11-all as the game edged towards injury time, until the decisive penalty landed Emus one last hope of victory – one Staniforth took with both hands.