"To say I'm ecstatic is the understatement of the century."
Sharks coach Dan McGoldrick has heaped praise on his players after Woonona came from nowhere to claim this year's Illawarra Premier League premiers trophy on Sunday.
The Sharks, who were in second place heading into Sunday's final round, clinched a 3-0 win over South Coast United at Ocean Park. Meanwhile, the top-placed Wollongong United fell 3-2 in an upset against Coniston at Macedonia Park, meaning Woonona leapfrogged them on the ladder on goal difference.
It is the first time in Woonona's 131-year history that the club has won the IPL premiership.
"We'd heard the [United v Coniston] result was 2-2 at the 88th minute and thought 'oh well, we've given it our best shot'. And then to hear that 'Cono' had got a late goal, it was just a dream come true," McGoldrick told the Mercury.
"It's funny, I was at the Fernhill [District League] game against Unanderra on Saturday and Fernhill needed to win and three results to go their way - to go from seventh to fifth - and it happened. I thought 'well, it can happen' and I was hopeful. But the important thing for us is that we needed to win and we needed to score goals.
"In the first half, we struggled. But in the second half, we completely dominated the game and could have got away with a few more. But at the end of the day, it was enough to do the business. The celebrations were out on the middle of the field were absolutely immense. For the volunteers who do the hard work, it's a very just reward for them. For me personally, it's very satisfying particularly given the circumstances of getting the flick from Fernhill when we got promoted to Premier League."
McGoldrick said the Sharks would continue to celebrate the premiers trophy, but he hoped they could also complete the title double in 2020.
"I'm old school. The league championship is the be-all and end-all. And anything beyond this is a bonus," he said.
"But don't get me wrong, I'd still love to win a grand final. But I like the idea of the top team being the team that finishes top of the table at the end of the season. But none of these boys have played in a first grade semi-final or anything else, it's all new territory for them. But it will certainly give them belief.
"We played really, really well in the second half today. They executed the game plan to perfection. The only thing that has been missed at times [this season] is goals, and we got them today."
On Sunday, Tarrawanna and Albion Park both booked their spots in the finals. The Blueys beat Wollongong Olympic by 2-1 at Tarrawanna Oval while the White Eagles played out a 1-all draw with Bulli at Terry Reserve
They will be joined in the finals - which starts next weekend - by the Sharks, Wollongong United and Bulli.
Elsewhere, defending premiers Corrimal capped their 2020 campaign with a 4-3 win over Bellambi at Memorial Park while Port Kembla and Cringila were forced to share the points following a 3-all draw at Wetherall Park on Sunday.