A missed conversion attempt from the sideline was all that separated Leeton and Waratahs at the end of an absorbing grand final.
Xavier Chigwidden had the chance to win it at the death for Waratahs, but his kick faded away as the Phantoms ended a 26-year premiership drought.
Undefeated all season, Leeton had to overcome their biggest obstacle of the year at Leeton No.1 Oval on Saturday.
There had been little between the two sides before the Phantoms looked to have gone out to a winning 30-14 break with 21 minutes.
However Waratahs kept on coming and when Matt Shortis scored in the corner with two minutes left, one of the upsets of the season was brewing.
Chigwidden had been perfect with the boot throughout the day, including an earlier shot from the sideline, but couldn’t quite deliver the match-winning kick.
Waratahs had one final chance from the restart but an error gave Leeton possession and they kicked it out to take a 30-29 victory.
Leeton captain Bill Bevan, born and bred in the town, wasn’t even alive when the Phantoms last won the premiership in 1991 but was elated as the realisation of a perfect season.
“It is sensational, I can’t believe it,” Bevan said.
“For the season to come down to one point at the end is just unreal.”
While giving Waratahs plenty of credit for their comeback effort, Bevan was just as impressed by the heart his side showed to hold on.
“I can’t believe how they dug in as there was nothing left in a lot of boys, but they found something,” he said.
Leeton were the first to score when James Moore slotted a penalty goal but Waratahs were the first to cross the line.
After a sustained period they eventually cracked the Phantoms defence in the 13th minute when Dave Armstrong scored off a strong scrum.
However Leeton hit back to take a 10-7 lead into half-time when Joe Ratu scored.
Ratu had his second four minutes after the break only for Waratahs to reduce the gap to one when Corey Toole showed plenty of speed to put Tom Hobbs over.
Surprisingly, Leeton’s next try came off a scrum win.
It has been one of their weaknesses this season, but they forced the ball over before Simon Vunilagi scored with 30 minutes left.
The Phantoms looked to be cruising to victory when Moore stepped through the line to score.
He then added a penalty goal to go out to a 30-14 lead before Dan Selmes showed plenty of space to score a 40-metre try for Waratahs with 14 left.
Chigwidden then slotted a penalty to make it 30-24 with 10 to go before Shortis gave his team the chance to make it back-to-back premierships.
It was not to be.
Leeton coach Marika Vunibaka was just happy to come out on top.
“We won, that is it,” Vunibaka said.
“This is a big one as a few boys haven’t played finals footy and Waratahs came out firing and never gave up.”
He’s already plotting next year’s assault.