PLAYING hard and partying even harder are a way of life for the Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles.
Especially when it comes to traditional mad-Monday celebrations.
The Eagles captured their eighth Group Seven title in 15 years with Sunday's heart-stopping 16-14 defeat of Gerringong in the grand final,and were still on a high yesterday.
Rather than head to a pub, the premiers partied all night at their own clubhouse at Centenary Field, savouring their victory exactly where it happened.
"We had a fair few people back here. It was a real good night, one we'll remember for a long time," hooker and man of the match Dean Gray said.
The 33-year-old has won eight of the nine grand finals he has contested and reckons a sneaky two-hour sleep is the key to surviving mad Monday.
"I left at about three in the morning to get a couple hours kip," Gray said.
"A few of the young rookies decided to stay and drink through and they'll struggle today. The experienced blokes get a couple hours' kip."
Sunday's premiership decider was one of the best in the past 20 years.
In the end it came down to a kick after the siren.
Gerringong fullback Joel Roberts attempted to convert his own last-second try and send the game into extra time but his kick hit the upright.
"There was a lot of relief," Gray said.
"It's nice if you're up by 50 and guaranteed of winning, but there's no better feeling than winning the way we did.
"The way we defended in the first half and then with 12 men in the second half, all the boys said it was one of the best wins they've ever played in.
"In the first half Gerringong had that much ball that we could've been down by 30 at half-time. There were some unbelievable efforts, last-ditch efforts from blokes who were out on their feet.
"A lot of our supporters said it was one of the best wins they'd ever seen. They've been saying it's something they'll never forget. A fair few said it was the best grand final they've seen."