Collegians invested heavily in youth this season, but it was their veterans who provided the ultimate payoff in Sunday's Illawarra League grand final.
Collies claimed their second title in three seasons under coach Nathan Fien with a 16-14 win over Wests at WIN Stadium, and had their old Dogs to thank for it.
Chief among them was man of the match Jarrod Boyle, who laid on two of his side's three tries - the second with an all-or-nothing cutout ball for Jiye Ellis' 70th minute four-pointer.
Fletcher Winning converted for a two-point lead that became the final margin, with pass that sailed across the face of two Devils defenders the pivotal moment of the match.
"It was either six to us or six to them," Boyle said in the aftermath.
"Had it have gone the other way I never would've forgiven myself but I just went for it and it paid off. I was looking for that long ball all day, I just had to get the ball and throw it.
"Everyone was saying 'stop the long balls in the wind' but I base my game on head's up footy. I just saw it and I threw it and it was a nice finish from Jiye on the wing there.
"I think we did well to only be down by four with 10 or 15 to go. We should've been down by more, any other team would have been but I think we've defended our try-line the best by far this year.
"I'd like for it to be easier and less stressful but it is how you want to win a grand final, a nice close one that goes down to the wire."
Fellow veteran Jarrod Thompson had a first-half double and grabbed a crucial one-on-one steal in front of his owns sticks with 10 seconds left as his side clung to a two-point lead.
Skipper Blake Phillips also played out the 80 minutes on an ankle dodgier than a crooked shopping trolley wheel but, as they've done all season, the Dogs found a way to own the big moments.
It came as no surprise for Fien who always backed the trio to steer his young side home.
"With some guys like Thommo, Boofa and Boyely in the side you can always trust that we're going to come up with a play," Fien said.
"They stood up and they needed to. Thommo was phenomenal in that first 40, he was a beast and a warrior out there and definitely laid the platform.
"Those young guys have been awesome for us all year but they wouldn't have been able to do that if our more experienced guys didn't guide them.
"We gave some young guys an opportunity this year. How they were going to handle it we didn't really know but they stood up when they got their chance and they just kept standing up all year.
"It's pretty special, they deserve everything they get."
A tit-for-tat affair saw the scores locked at 10 apiece at the break, with Mitch Porter and Kyle Lodge crossing for the Devils in response to Thompson's double.
The Devils made all the running early in the second half, taking a 14-10 lead through Rhys Hanbury five minutes after the break, but couldn't cross again despite a mountain of possession and field position.
Devils coach Pete McLeod said his side's failure to make the most of their momentum after the break ultimately came back to bite them.
"I thought there was an opportunity there with 15-20 minutes to go where we were right on top in the game where we needed to go 10 points up," McLeod said.
"If we'd got there it probably would've been a bit of a bridge too far Collies but, to their credit, we didn't get over there. Then they were camped on our line for a long period and eventually got over the line.
"I always say these boys won't get beaten on effort and they didn't today, there were just times in the game we didn't execute as well as we needed to and it cost us."