After a near flawless season Shellharbour were left heartbroken following their 5-3 defeat to Fernhill in the District League grand final.
Rod Williams' men were chasing their tails straight away, with Fernhill up 3-0 inside half an hour. To their credit, they clawed it back to 3-2 before half-time thanks to goals from Tommy Markovski and Yuto Kito, but in the end the Foxes just had the better of the day.
Shellharbour won the league by six points and before their loss on the final day of the season went on a 10 match unbeaten run.
As a result of winning the league championship, Shellharbour will have the opportunity to be promoted to the top flight - the Illawarra Premier League - in 2024.
If their fate does belong in the IPL, they will need to rely on a big squad for that next level up. This is something that has been a major positive for Shellharbour this season, according to defender Luke Debrot.
"I think we did superbly well throughout the season because there was stages where people were in and out right through the season," he said.
"It was a good group of players. Everyone gelled and played together rather well. And that just helped us carry on throughout the season because at the midpoint of the season it was getting to the point where it could have gone either way again.
"I think we lost to Berkeley, drew with Fernhill but then from there we've been flawless up until today [the grand final]."
Debrot told the Mercury post-game that the team were second best but rued a few key moments that didn't go their way.
"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."
Shellharbour won the league in the mens and also claimed grand final glory in the womens in the first season of the merger between the Shellharbour juniors and Shell Cove mens.
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