Tech Waratahs made it third time lucky against minor premiers Avondale in Saturday's hard-fought major semi-final at Ocean Park.
Unable to beat the Wombats in two regular season clashes, Tech Tahs got it right with their third attempt, coming from behind in the second half to prevail 24-17 and advance to the grand final.
"It never felt like we were losing. Even though we were behind, we still felt in control," Tech Waratahs coach Sean Filan said.
"I didn't think there was much in it in the previous two meetings. We tweaked a couple of little things but we pretty much stuck to what we've been doing all year."
A strong sou'westerly wind made life tough for both teams from start to finish.
The Tahs were up 14-10 at half-time, only to watch Avondale grab a converted try against the run of play 15 minutes into the second half.
But the Wombats faced a mountain of pressure over the final 10 minutes, eventually conceding a try in the right corner.
Fly-half Lee Martin judged the wind perfectly with his sideline conversion and added a field goal in the final minute.
Filan lauded the efforts of his forward pack, particularly hooker Alex Matulick and second-rowers Noel Franco and Richard Hoffman.
"They were just so dominant," he said.
"How many pushover tries did Avondale collapse? There must've been at least eight. We ended up with one pushover try, but we must've been close to getting a couple of penalty tries as well.
"Alex Matulick was awesome again. He's been a superstar all year."
Filan expects Avondale to bounce back in the final and progress to the premiership decider. "I think they deserve to, definitely," he said.
Tech Waratahs caused a boilover in the second grade major semi-final too with a 20-14 defeat of Avondale.
The Wombats' loss was their first in second grade in more than two years.
"I was just impressed with the whole club's effort," Filan said.
Avondale were minor premiers last year and lost the grand final to Vikings.
The Wombats have been in three grand finals in the past five years without a victory.
Coach James Patrick believes the loss could be the catalyst for the club to finally capture its maiden premiership in the top grade.
"I'm happy with the outcome," Patrick said.
"Obviously you don't go out and try and lose because you want to be in the grand final first, but we could do with an extra game.
"While it's disappointing to lose, it's probably a blessing in disguise. We've got a hard game next week and it will do us good. It doesn't matter who we're playing, it's going to be a hard game, and that kind of preparation will be better for us."
Meanwhile, Shoalhaven beat University 31-25 in yesterday's minor semifinal at Camden Rugby Park.
Shoalies will square off with Avondale in this Saturday's final at Kiama Showground.