Influential five-eighth Guy Hamilton proved the difference for Runaway Bay in the Gold Coast’s QTOP A Grade grand final, with the Seagulls defeating the Burleigh Bears 22-14 at Cbus Super Stadium.
In a shortened 10-round season, the Seagulls didn’t lose a single game in their premiership-winning year, with a draw against Ormeau in Round 2 the only hiccup in what was a near-perfect run for the Nick Gleeson coached side.
The Intrust Super Cup regular produced a man of the match performance in front of the 4,011-strong crowd, having a hand in three of the Bay's four tries.
The premiership triumph sees Hamilton follow in his father's footsteps - who won a title with the Seagulls two decades ago - while also redeeming himself from the heartbreak in 2017 after losing the Intrust Super Cup decider with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
“My dad won in 2000 which was 20 years ago this year, and I just went and saw him and he’s got tears as it means a lot to our family,” Hamilton said.
"It is one of those things that will be remembered for a long time.
"That’s [the 2017 grand final loss] something that always sticks with me.
"You don’t get to play in grand finals often and that one still hurts... I haven’t watched that game since, but it's bittersweet for us now, especially with a few of those boys in the team after this grand final win.
“It [the win] was unreal.
"We came here 10 weeks ago with the target to be here and go undefeated and I actually was a little bit nervous before the game with the pressure that was on us, but we rode together and got the job done.”
The Seagulls got off to a flyer when James Poland broke through the line and linked up with Alex Bishop to give the Seagulls an early 6-0 lead.
They then made it back-to-back tries in the 9th minute when Jake Powell went over in the corner, courtesy of a lovely Hamilton cut-out ball to make it 10-0.
Burleigh got themselves back in the contest in the 22nd minute when Brett Stratton sliced through, thanks to a short ball from halfback Joshua Rogers, bringing the deficit back to four points.
Momentum began to swing Burleigh’s way when No. 9 Jordan Scott barged over from close range in the 29th minute to bring the scores level.
Just four minutes before half-time, Burleigh failed to deal with a Hamilton chip-kick and Seagulls captain Darcy Sims capitalised on the loose ball, giving the minor premiers a 16-10 lead into the break.
With the game in the balance, a failed Burleigh raid in the 53rd minute saw Hamilton scoop up a loose ball 45 metres out, before showing great vision to put the ball on the toe for fullback John Mackin to win the footrace and score, extending the Seagulls lead to 12 points.
Shawn Anderson crashed over for Burleigh in the 74th minute, giving the defending premiers hope; but the crucial conversion attempt from youngster Jayden Campbell was waived away, leaving the gap at eight points.
Some desperate defence late in the contest from the Seagulls denied Burleigh the chance of a last-minute comeback, holding on for a hard-fought victory.
Earlier in the day, the Currumbin Eagles took home all the minor silverware, claiming the under 18 grand final with an 18-0 win over the Burleigh Bears.
Their under 20s held on for a 22-20 triumph over the Helensvale Hornets and then the Eagles' Reserve Grade team made it three from three with a 22-16 victory over the Tugun Seahawks, capping off a memorable afternoon for the club.
Runaway Bay Seagulls 22 (Alex Bishop, Jack Powell, Darcy Sims, John Mackin tries; Jack Powell 3 goals) defeated Burleigh Bears 14 (Brett Stratton, Jordan Scott, Shawn Anderson tries; Jayden Campbell goal)