Wynnum Manly Juniors have secured a fourth BRL title for the Seagulls, holding off a fast-finishing Bulimba to win 28-18 at Totally Workwear Stadium on Saturday.
Savaan Tahere got Wynnum Manly Juniors off to the ideal start, given too much space at dummy half within sight of the try line and burrowing over to open the scoring in the fourth minute.
A grinding battle ensued between the two teams, Bulimba winning the territory battle with the help of some errors from the Seagulls, but struggling to execute in the attacking zone.
That all changed in the 22nd minute when captain Izaac Skyring ran the perfect second rower’s line to cross the stripe off a Hayden Herbert pass, making it 6-4.
The momentum unravelled in the set after points when the Seagulls forced Bulldogs halfback Herbert to scramble on last tackle, before his desperate attempt at a one-handed offload missed his support and bounced into the arms of Willie Malala.
The Seagulls centre ran 50 metres to score under the posts and the subsequent conversion gave Wynnum Manly Juniors an eight-point lead.
Bulimba eventually wrestled back their field position and ultimately scored on the stroke of half time when Nat McGavin got his hand on a grubber kick just before the dead ball line, making it 12-8 at the break.
Wynnum Manly Juniors jumped ahead five minutes after the break on the back of individual brilliance from Luke Maddaford, who sliced through and ran 60 metres after receiving a pass off a scrum in his own half.
Maddaford and Bulldogs fullback Tahj Wood were sent the sin bin for a scuffle in the aftermath of the try, which made it 16-8.
The extra space played into the hands of Wynnum Manly Juniors utility Ethan Unicomb, who capitalised through the middle four minutes later, paving the way for a 22-8 scoreline with half an hour remaining.
Never a team to roll over, the Bulldogs picked themselves back up and again mounted the pressure and in the 56th minute Bradley Russell took on the defence, poked his nose through and offloaded for Lachlan Pope to fall over the line.
The Seagulls were starting to feel the pinch and after turning away a Bulimba attacking raid on their own line, an error in the hit-up off the scrum put the ball in Bulldogs winger Saimone Ahomana's hands and he scored in the 61st minute.
After Hayden Herbert's struggles off the tee, he handed goalkicking duties to Zakaria Taibi, who nailed the conversion to make it 22-18 and suddenly it was game on.
The Seagulls kept hanging in there and with four minutes to go made a scrum on their own 10m mark into a winner, with Willie Malala using his footwork to stride through the line and run 80 metres before being tackled.
Fullback Jalen Reweti then came flying in for a hit up and did enough to plant it on the stripe, sealing the win for Wynnum Manly Juniors - the fourth for the Seagulls in the reformed competition.
The No.1 said he probably "carried on a bit" when the referee pointed to the spot not even realising just how little time was left in the game.
"It was crazy, bro. After Willie Malala made that break, it was huge and I knew I just had to try to make a play there and back myself and ended up coming up with a good result," he said.
Reweti put the moments of brilliance from the likes of Malala and Luke Maddaford down to the desire to make amends for some of the errors that invited Bulimba into the contest.
"Across the whole park we have so many dangerous players. Our back five have been good for us all year, they carry strong," he said.
"I thought we did a good job there and it was good and gritty and just happy we were able to come away with the result.
"We kind of did it to ourselves in the back five in particular. We let a lot of balls hit the deck, dropped a few, but you can't put your head down after an error, you have to stay positive, find a way, reset and just go again."
Second rower James Robinson was awarded player of the match, which he felt could have gone to anyone.
"I didn't really think it would go to me but I'm super stoked about it. It's awesome," he said.
"Our backs carried out of yardage for us with really tough carries. Once we got over the advantage line our forwards started going forward and our halves did their thing.
"It was just a whole team performance really. I'm super proud of the boys, they kept turning up for each other when we could have let it slip.
"We definitely knew we had it in us. We just had to turn up and complete our sets, which we still made it hard on ourselves, and we've done it the hard way all year, so we may as well have finished like that as well."
Robinson said lifting the trophy on Saturday meant the devastation of being beaten in the grand final 12 months ago was all but forgotten.
"It's polar opposites, from one of the worst days of your life to one of the best days of your life. It will certainly be remembered for a long time," he said.
It was two-from-two for the Seagulls at Totally Workwear Stadium, with the club also winning the reserve grade grand final.
Second rower Hayden Potter was the hero, kicking a goal from the sideline after the final siren to seal the win over West Brisbane Panthers 16-14.
In the under 20s it was Brighton Roosters getting the chocolates 18-14 over Carina in front of fantastic support from both camps.
Brisbane Rugby League grand final day - scores
Wynnum Manly Juniors 28 (Savaan Tahere, Willie Malala, Luke Maddaford, Ethan Unicomb, Jalen Reweti tries; Jalen Reweti 4 goals) def Bulimba Valleys Bulldogs 18 (Izaac Skyring, Nathaneal McGavin, Lachlan Pope, Saimone Ahomana tries; Zakaria Taibi goal)
Wynnum Manly Juniors 16 def West Brisbane Panthers 14
Brighton Roosters 18 def Carina Juniors 14