LIKE a phoenix rising from the ashes the Whitsunday Sea Eagles' flight to claim victory at the Whitsunday Mackay AFL pre-season carnival grand final was a sight to behold.
A solid performance all day from last year's wooden spooners saw them knock the Bakers Creek team out of contention before triumphing against the Mackay Magpies and finally taking care of the Gold Coast Suns Under -18 side before finally being pitted against the Mackay Saints.
The Sea Eagles looked strong from the beginning of the match during the reduced 15 minute half format and went to the break leading by seven points.
The second half saw the Saints claw back and at the full time siren both teams were locked at 16 points.
After a short deliberation in the middle, it was decided to give the teams a further 10 minutes each way to decide a victor.
That victor then put on three answered goals to make the final score Sea Eagles 34, Saints 17.
Former player and coach this year Luke Somerville was impressed with the result.
"We just asked the boys to lift, we haven't been in the grand final the last few years and this is a great way to start our season,” he said.
"Winning the pre-season grand final gives us something to cheer about and it's a really good result for the work they have done over the pre-season.”
Somerville said the team has recruited new players during the off season and it felt like the team was headed in the right direction in 2017.
"Around the club there is a really good buzz, we have got our women's side as well this year and hopefully on to bigger and better things.”
Somerville said the pre-season grand final win has filled the Sea Eagles with confidence and now there is an expectation the team will be playing in the grand final come the end of the season.
The grand final for the women's teams was won by - brand new team to the Mackay/Whitsunday AFL competition - the Mackay City Hawks in a nail biter against Bakers Creek 21-19.
Coach and player of the Hawks Jen Revell said "that is exactly how you want a grand final to be”.
"The girls knew we only had 20 minutes of football to play and just stick to it in a really tight group, it was good.”
Revell said the win at the pre-season grand final carnival was testament to the effort of the girls training program and offered some confidence coming into the season proper.
”It does give us some confidence but we just reset and start again. We have ticked that box off and now we reset and go to round one. We don't want to get to ahead of ourselves,” she said.
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