THE Keech Australia Bendigo Miners saved their best performance of the year for the season finale when they trounced the previously unbeaten Shepparton Bulls 54-25 in Saturday's Victorian Rugby Union grand final.
The Miners had an interrupted season through injuries, but peaked at the right time to add another premiership to their growing trophy cabinet.
An elated Bendigo coach Isi Tuitupou praised the players.
“I thought that our players’ greater commitment to the common cause would prevail in the end,'' he said.
After a tight first half the Miners held a 21-13 lead.
However, the momentum was with the Miners as the forwards started to take control and the backs looked far more likely to break the line.
Their superiority became evident early in the second half when tries to Tom Murrell (2), Dominic Tunumafono and Jesse Tuitupou blew Bendigo’s lead out to 47-13.
The best on ground award went to Bendigo lock Josephar Maiai, whose high work rate, bruising tackling and strong running put the Bendigo forwards on the front foot.
Half-back Josh Manderson scored 24 points with a try, three penalty goals and five conversions.
For loose head prop Nicki Poingdestre, the premiership win was his seventh for the Miners.
Team: 1 N. Poingdestre, 2 E. Tuitupou, 3 J. Tuitupou, 4 L. Tuitupou, 5 J. Maiai, 6 D. Tunumafono, 7 C. Allison, 8 P.Maka, 9 J. Manderson, 10 F. Moefaauo, 11 P. Keech, 12 J. Fagavao, 13 T. Murrell, 14 S. Palelei, 15 J. Drahm, 16 L. Leatuafi, 17 M. Roughley, 18 A. Saville, 19 C. Slattery, 20 J. Solomon, 21 F. Aumua, 22 R. Spedding, 23 J. Currie.