It may have been 31 years in the making but the Wollongong Wolves have lifted the NSW National Premier League premiers trophy in style on Sunday afternoon.
The Wolves put the finishing touches on a dominant season by claiming a 1-0 victory over Marconi at WIN Stadium, the triumph ensuring Wollongong finish the season nine points clear of runners up APIA Leichhardt.
So we wanted to come out here, give a good game for the fans who all turned out, win it and celebrate like real champions.
Thomas James was the difference, an 81st-minute penalty securing both the win and the Englishman the golden boot title. James scored a remarkable 22 goals this season.
Wollongong coach Luke Wilkshire was thrilled to see his team fight so hard to secure the victory on what he described as a momentous occasion for the club.
"It means a lot to all the boys and it should mean a lot to the boys and everyone at the club," Wilkshire said. "It's the first time in 31 years we've been crowned premiers.
"To do what they've done, being first from the first round to the last is no easy feat and they deserved the accolades. They've worked tirelessly and this is their reward."
The match was a tense affair, with both sides generating a number of chances throughout the first half.
The respective defences were up to the task however, with the teams heading to the sheds locked at nil-all.
With the trophy already secured and a number of top stars rested by Wilkshire, the Wolves could have easily ground their way to a draw in the second half.
Instead, they came out all guns blazing, the team pushing hard for the go-ahead goal.
Attacking star Lachlan Scott said this mindset was borne out of a desire to celebrate the premiership in winning fashion.
"We talked about it before in the change room," Scott said. "We didn't want to come out here, even a draw, it would have put a bit of a dampener on the celebrations.
"So we wanted to come out here, give a good game for the fans who all turned out, win it and celebrate like real champions."
The team's attacking mindset saw Wollongong generate a number of chances early in the second half, the closest coming in the 55th minute when James was denied by Marconi goalkeeper Nenad Vekic's reflexive lunge.
With Wollongong unable to crack the Marconi defence, the momentum eventually swung back towards the visitors midway through the second half.
The Wolves defence dug in, with stand-in goalkeeper Luke Kairies making a number of sharp saves to deny the Stallions.
If there was any suggestion the match was meaningless, that was eliminated in the 77th minute when Wilkshire was handed a yellow card after Wolves forward Harry Callahan was brought down in a heavy collision inside the box.
The referee opted against awarding a penalty and Wilkshire made his displeasure towards the officials known.
The anger turned to joy just minutes later however, when Callahan was yet again brought down in the box. This time, the referee did point to the spot and James made no mistake to hand his team a 1-0 lead in the 81st minute.
Marconi pushed hard for an equaliser throughout the final 10 minutes, but the Wolves held firm and once the referee blew his whistle, the celebrations kicked off.