WITH a finger pointed towards the sky, Griffith Blacks coach Seru Rogo knew who he wanted to thank first after his side's win in Saturday's Southern Inland Rugby Union grand final against Albury.
"Firstly, I have to thank the man upstairs," Rogo said as his players celebrated their 16-11 victory.
"In the history of the Blacks, I have never seen the team pray before the game, but the boys have been doing it all year.
"I think he (God) got us over the line."
But even if divine intervention did influence the result, Rogo said his players deserved their success.
"We prepared from the first week of January in the 45-degree heat," he said.
"We worked so hard. The boys were always looking towards today and it paid off."
A large contingent of Griffith supporters made the trip to Wagga for the match and added to the electric atmosphere at Conolly Park.
Like the club's fans, Rogo felt his pulse quicken in those final minutes as the Blacks attempted to hold on to their five-point lead.
"I was so nervous," Rogo confessed.
"At half-time I told told the boys we had to try and get as far away in the scoreline as possible.
"But I wasn't talking about field goals or penalties. I wanted tries.
"The boys probably took a few wrong options, but that's all part of grand finals because there are so many nerves."
While the Blacks backline received plenty of attention this year, Rogo praised the contribution of his forwards in the premiership decider.
"Our defence won us the game and it all came from the forwards," he said.
"We were pushing them back in the last couple of scrums and they were hitting hard all game."
The Blacks' physical intensity mirrored their desire to win, and Rogo sees no reason why the club can't enjoy sustained success.
"They (the players) have one premiership now and they want to come back and fight for it again," he said.