Glen Innes league taggers booked their place in the Group 19 grand final after a thrilling extra time finish in Sunday’s semi-final.
The minor premiers came up against the second-placed Armidale Rams in a do-or-die encounter for the decider spot and found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard with the clock winding down.
The Magpies regrouped to put together a near perfect final 10 minutes and drew level with the Rams, courtesy of an Emilie Hodge try.
The Rams lost the competition’s leading tryscorer, Haley Ford, through a knee injury late in the game and, five minutes into extra time, Sasha Harrington capitalised.
Harrington scored and converted to seal the win 22-16 and the chance to battle with with the Moree Boomerangs for the trophy this Saturday.
Magpies co-coach David Biddle said it was an uncharacteristic sloppy start by his side with nerves hampering their performance but they regained their composure to snatch the victory.
“I thought we were in the game the whole time but it was just our execution, we dropped too much ball. We put too much pressure on ourselves, trying to do too much,” he said.
“I felt for them [Armidale] losing their number one player but that's sport and that's what happens.
“I am not saying they would have beat us or we would have beat them but it was a disadvantage for them.”
The Magpies had to claw their way back into the game and Biddle said that was the most pleasing part.
“It was a good game, it was a hard game and it was a good lead up for us,” he said.
“They dug in deep and came from behind because the last 10 minutes was really good, they really played well and they levelled it up and went on and won it.
“That shows a bit of ticker and I am happy about that.”
Many had predicted Glen Innes and Armidale to go head-to-head in the decider but with the Boomerangs finding form late in the season, it wasn’t to be.
“I thought it should have been the grand final, it was worthy of one,” Biddle said of Sunday’s semi-final.
“We came away happy and we will lick all our wounds now and we will get ready for the next one.”
In the under 18 clash, Inverell booked their spot in the grand final by beating Armidale 24-20, the Moree Boomerangs demolished Narwan’s reserve grade team 66-20 while Narwan will head into the A grade decider after holding out the ‘Rangs 44-34.