Widely written off as a premiership threat, Shoalhaven are revelling in proving the doubters wrong.
Not only did Shoalies defy the critics to snatch a top-five spot, they've since won back to back sudden death games in the post-season to set up a clash with minor premiers Avondale in this Saturday's final at Kiama Showground.
"The bottom line is that nobody expected us to get this far," Shoalhaven coach Michael Hayes said.
"We've got the underdog tag and we're quite happy to wear the underdog tag."
Shoalhaven weren't always at their best during the regular season but they did enough to stay ahead of a highly inconsistent Vikings and deserved to claim a top-five berth.
Hayes said his side had struck form at the right end of the season and developed a knack for succeeding against the odds.
"We're a bunch of licorice allsorts," he said.
"We've got older and younger players, limited ability and good ability, injured and non-injured.
"It's just a patchwork quilt but we've been able to build some combinations and essentially keep the same team on the paddock for a couple of weeks.
"Playing 100 minutes the previous week against Shamrocks really knocked us around, but we were able to get over University [in last Sunday's minor semi-final] and we should get a couple of players back this weekend."
While Avondale headed into the finals with one loss, they were out-played in last week's semifinal against Tech Waratahs and went down by seven.
The Wombats are likely to be fired up to make amends and avoid an embarrassing back-door exit from the finals.
However, they have lost three grand finals in the past five years, most of them as favourites, and there are some in the Shoalies camp who suspect Avondale will crack under pressure again.
"Avondale is the only team we haven't beaten this year," Hayes said.
"We'll be fielding our best team and there will certainly be no excuses.
"Maybe it's our time."