THERE’S a saying – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Until their final match of the season, Ingham Wolves’ third team had a record that read played 14 and lost 14, with a goal difference of minus 58.
There were three points on the board after Brothers forfeited and Ingham were awarded a 3-0 victory.
It looked good on paper, but felt hollow in the heart.
So when our boys secured a 5-3 victory over Warriors at Brolga Park on the final day of the season, the champagne that had been so long on ice got popped by coach Brendon Andersen, sparking jubilant celebrations.
Goals from Jason Quabba (2), Johannes Jacobus Joubert (2) and Moh McFarline helped fire Ingham to a memorable victory.
Coach Brendon Andersen said: ‘It feels fantastic – almost enough to make me want to play again next season.
‘One more season I keep telling the missus.’
Johannes Jacobus Joubert – or Triple J as he’s known to the boys – raced onto a Jason Quabba through ball after five minutes and, for the first time in an Ingham shirt, had the composure to finish, low to the ‘keeper’s right.
Moh McFarline doubled the lead two minutes later, finishing from Blaine Camp’s pass.
Ingham were in control, but Warriors scored two in quick succession to level up, leaving Andersen to wonder if he would ever get a chance to pop the champagne cork.
But Quabba struck twice before half-time to give Ingham a 4-2 goal going into the break.
Warriors got the seventh goal of the match to make it 4-3 on the hour and set up a tense finish – until Triple J blasted in a rocket from just outside the area.
The 19-year-old South African has done the 100m in 10.8 seconds – but even he wouldn’t have caught Andersen before he raced to the esky to grab the champers among the wild celebrations.
The win was enough to see Ingham leapfrog Brothers and avoid the wooden spoon, as they finished one place above the bottom.
It was an outstanding performance on the night from a team who have suffered from Ingham’s injury-ravaged season.
There is another expression – you’re only as good as your last game.
Ingham thirds head into the off-season as winners.
Watch the moment coach Brendon Andersen finally gets to pop the champagne cork…