Tears of triumph after reaching Shute Shield grand final
YAMBA could have three representatives in this Saturday's Shute Shield grand final after Southern Districts' heart-stopping win over Sydney Uni.
Clarence Valley trio Jed Holloway, Jake and Kane Douglas all play for Southern Districts in the Premier Rugby competition.
Holloway captains the side and Jake has slotted into the second row for the latter half of the year, while Kane runs out for the Rebels whenever he isn't on Waratahs duty.
The manner of the Rebels' win eerily echoed that of the Waratahs, as a late penalty sealed their fate.
A week after Foley launched a 45m penalty through the sticks to win the Waratahs' first Super Rugby title, Southern Districts were seconds away from a season-ending semi-final loss when the official blew a penalty in their favour.
Former Yamba Buccaneer Holloway weighed up the situation.
"We were about 40m out and about five in from the sideline, so it's about a 50m distance," Holloway said.
"I was getting ready for a forward play but Ben (Volavola) came over.
"He said 'listen Jed, just back me', so I said, 'let's do it'. I've never seen him kick so well.
"I had a few tears in my eyes once it hit me that we won then we all just jumped on Benny."
Volavola nailed the long-range attempt to send the Southern Districts faithful into raptures and, more importantly for the Rebels, the Sydney Uni crowd to silence. Sydney Uni has dominated the Shute Shield competition for at least the last decade, reaching the last nine grand finals - of which they only lost one (2011).
The clubs share a heated rivalry, and Sydney Uni's 15-14 win over Southern Districts in the 2012 decider still burns a fire in Holloway's stomach.
That fire helped drive Holloway's attitude all season, and the 21-year-old shed some light on how he led his club to victory.
"It's unbelievable we knocked Sydney Uni off," Holloway said. "They've been the benchmark for the last decade.
"My main focus has always been finals footy. All it means is we played 18 trial games.
"It's unbelievable for such a small club as we are. Playing with 23 of our best mates is probably why we're so successful."
One of those mates is 22-year-old Jake Douglas, who fought his way back to first grade after he spent a season with Driffield in the UK. Douglas played all but the last 15 minutes of the semi-final, and had a front row seat to Volavola's ambitious attempt.
"He was right in front of where we were sitting and once he hit it, we just ran out and jumped on him," Douglas said. "We all went mental.
He said they were confident they could bring home the club's first premiership, but was not carried away with the hype.
"We're definitely confident," Douglas said. "Every time we're played them they've been close games, but I think we might have their number."