Redemption is what they wanted and redemption is what Fernhill got.
After being smashed by Shellharbour just two weeks ago in the grand final qualifier, the Foxes turned it around to claim the decider against the same opponent with a 5-3 win at WIN Stadium.
The win in the grand final was a massive upset with Shellharbour claiming the league championship as well as the Foxes being unable to beat Rod Williams' men in three previous attempts in 2023.
It was a first half blitz from Fernhill that set up the win with two goals from Mitchell Turner and one from Brendan Pattman which shell-shocked the league champions.
The first half got even crazier however. Shellharbour flicked the switch and scored two just before the break thanks to goals from Tommy Markovski and Yuto Kito and the score was 3-2 to the Foxes.
Fernhill came out firing and had a fourth almost immediately into the second half thanks to their captain Jordan Hughes before Shellharbour won a penalty on the hour mark and the score was 4-3.
Turner capped off the hat-trick with almost the last kick of the game. The team's captain Hughes said he was incredibly proud of his troops.
"They thought they had the grand final in their pockets already," the captain said.
"Just goes to show we're not down and out until it's over. We were pretty upset coming into the game with that 7-2 thrashing against them two weeks ago," he said post match.
Hughes heaped plenty of praise on the hat-trick hero.
"He's been our best player all year. If he's on his game then we're going to get results," he added.
"We just had to make sure he got the service and he did today and he got three goals. So what can you say?"
Hughes should have put his side ahead within the first five minutes if not for a sensational save from Blake Coad in the Shellharbour goals.
And then 17 minutes into the grand final, Turner gave the Foxes the lead after Kyle Del opened up the Shellharbour defence and the number 10 made no mistake to make it 1-0.
The league champions looked to fire back and Michael Trajkovski had a wicked shot on the bounce just go wide in the 28th minute.
But almost immediately, Fernhill doubled their advantage with an absolutely stunning hit from Pattman. Shellharbour were stunned and the Foxes had a 2-0 lead.
Shellharbour needed a goal desperately to stay in the game and their marksman Tommy Markovski seemed to get the final touch in a mass scramble in the box via a set piece and it made the score 3-1.
The league champions continued the pressure and just before half-time it was truly game on. Markovski was brought down in the box but Kito followed up to finish and the score was 3-2 to end the first half.
The match moved into the second half and the goals continued to flow and the Foxes had a two goal advantage once more. This time it was Jordan Hughes to finish and Fernhill stretched the lead to 4-2 after Shellharbour had applied the pressure.
Shellharbour had the chance to make it 4-2 on the hour mark after Markovski won a penalty with the Foxes' handling in the box.
Michael Trajkovski stepped up and dispatched the ball confidently into the top corner and it was game on at 4-3 with half an hour to play.
The Shellharbour goalkeeper was there to save his team once more with a save of the season contender from point blank range from a Hughes effort.
It was a trifecta for Coad. Again it was Turner, bearing down on goal one-on-one and the stopper kept his team in the game once more. If Shellharbour were to score, they would have to go an celebrate with their goalkeeper for allowing them to stay in the contest.
Fernhill held on for dear life as the clock ticked down but it was to be Turner's hat-trick to seal the win and make the score 5-3.
Foxes coach Dale White said the team thoroughly deserved the win.
"That is unbelievable mate, the best feeling that I've had in a long, long time.
"They gave us a touch-up two weeks ago and we used that as motivation. But that wasn't the end goal, the end goal was the 16th of September. It was an amazing first half, Shellharbour came back, we knew they would. And they gave back again in the second half, but we showed some heart today."
"We spoke a lot about redemption. That's (7-2 loss) not us, today is us - that's where we're about. Showing heart, fighting for each other and just competing - and that's what we did today."
Shellharbour defender Luke Debrot said the game was lost on key moments.
"In comparison to two weeks ago we started pretty flat," he said.
"They really capitalised on that first 15, 20 minutes and from there we were playing catch-up. It seemed like the harder we tried the more it went against us.
"But fair play to them, they put in a good shift and were the better team today. But there were a few things, ref decisions, chances in the six yard box that didn't come off.
"It just wasn't our day today."
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