GRIFFITH Blacks second-rower Michael Stalley believes his team can carry this season's Southern Inland Rugby Union premiership-winning form into next year.
The Blacks lifted the Walsh and Blair Cup in Wagga on Saturday after beating defending premier Albury 16-11 in a thrilling grand final at Conolly Park.
A few days on from the triumph, Stalley said thoughts were already drifting towards next season.
"It's always hard to get a gauge straight after a win like that, but by Sunday afternoon it had sunk in a bit and we were thinking along those lines," he said.
"A few blokes who were thinking about moving on or doing different things are probably thinking they will go around next year.
"I think Leon (Tiere) is the only one who has retired. He thought it was a good note to go out on."
Being defending premier will put a target on Griffith's back in 2015, but Stalley said the Blacks had a formula for success.
"The way we finished the season, the style of play and mentality, if you can play like that any year you'll always be competitive," he said.
"Winning is a habit. Once you get into that habit it's hard to get out of.
"You begin to understand things like pressure and can easily build on it."
For all the skill the Blacks' possess, Stalley said Griffith based its game on physicality.
"It's about being brutal at the breakdown, brutal in the tackle and brutal running the ball," he said.
"It's what we're good at and what we always put into practice.
"No one likes getting hit hard. It doesn't matter if you're 19, 29 or 39."
Stalley admits age is catching up with him but is holding off making a definitive call on his playing future.
"I'm 35 next year, so it's taking longer to recover from games," he said.
"I'll wait and see how I go when I watch my first game of Super Rugby next year. We'll see if I get that inkling."