At long last, North Wagga climbed the mountain, and conquered their demons.
The Saints snapped a 25-year premiership drought on Saturday, overcoming their cross-town rivals East Wagga-Kooringal by 20 points at Robertson Oval.
Spearheaded by five goals from their longest serving player, Troy Curtis, and a best-on-ground performance from co-captain Cayden Winter, North Wagga claimed a famous 13.9 (87) to 10.7 (67) victory.
It was a fitting finale for an emotional Kirk Hamblin who closed his four-year stint as coach with the club's greatest achievement in a quarter of a century.
"It still feels surreal. I'm just super proud of the boys and the club. A lot of hard work's gone in to getting there. It's not just this year, it's been building for a lot of years and I'm just so proud of everyone involved," Hamblin said.
In front of a record Farrer League grand final crowd, North Wagga were down by seven points at quarter-time and looking a little shaky after it.
But they set their supporters' hearts racing - and themselves up for success - when they piled on six goals to one in the second term.
The veteran Luke Walsh pulled down a great mark in the middle of the ground against the run of play to swing his side into attack. And Tom Bennetts made the most of it with a goal from inside the centre square, 55 metres out, for a two-point North Wagga lead.
Bennetts had kicked a lead-grabbing goal early in the first quarter too, but that advantage had been short-lived with the Hawks finding their star forward Chris Ladhams for three good marks and two goals before the first break.
The second time, Saints wouldn't surrender, as Curtis backed it up immediately with a strong mark and the first of his five goals.
The Hawks rallied though and threatened to get the game back on their terms, with Chris Gordon capitalising on a nice Harry Fitzsimmons pass before Danny Bromham had a chance to put his side in front.
But the Saints soon went coast-to-coast, Curtis grabbed his second, and they opened up with run and fun, booting four unanswered goals for a 25-point lead at half-time.
"We had one focus and one focus only and that was to clear the congestion. We knew they wanted to play the game in tight and we wanted to open it up. We got the ball going forward at all costs. We went away from it in the second quarter for the first five minutes but we got back into it, had the momentum and were on top by half-time," Hamblin said.
Hamblin set up Curtis' third goal shortly after half-time and suddenly the Hawks were in need of five.
They kept coming, firstly with Gordon and Ladhams going back-to-back, and later Jarrod Turner with a goal after the siren to keep them within three kicks with a quarter to play.
"I didn't rant and scream before the game or at quarter-time, or half-time," Hamblin said.
"The message was clear: composure, and clear the congestion. That was the two things all day. I didn't want to overload the boys ... we just really focussed on trying to play our game, which was to open the game up."
The three-quarter-time talk was about seizing their shot at history and they survived a tense final term, when it took 15 minutes for the first goal to arrive, as Turner took the Hawks to within 13 points but when Josh Thompson kicked his second and Curtis finished his day out with five, they were already singing about the Saints marching in.
"I am proud," Hamblin said.
"There's no doubt people counted us out after last year, when we lost a few good players. They didn't give us much a chance. But we knew our local talent was good enough if we could get them up to play their best football. And we were fortunate enough today that they did stand up today and play their best footy."
Winter was uncompromising and Curtis superb but by no means were they playing lone hands. Kane Flack and Jake May were instrumental when the game opened up, and the retiring James Morris and his newly-minted rucking partner Tom Bennetts nullified Nick Hull.
But a backline that built their season also did the job at the death, with Ben Alexander giving them the run they needed off half-back, Matt Thomas outstanding in defusing danger (as well as setting up Curtis' last goal of the game in a fitting play) and Brayden Skeers doing a superb job on the hard-to-handle Ladhams.
There were more, of course, in a fine team performance that produced their highest score of the year against a top-five team.
And they did it when it mattered, to bury the demons of disappointment after last year's narrow loss to Marrar on the same occasion.
"I thought Ben Alexander tore the game open, I thought his run off half-back was phenomenal. Every time he got the ball we gained 80 metres. He was huge for us," Hamblin said.
It was an emotional conclusion for the coach too, who steps down after taking the club to its first senior premiership since 1994.
"It makes me feel proud as punch," Hamblin said.
North Wagga 2.0, 8.3, 11.6, 13.9 (87)
East Wagga-K 3.1, 4.2, 8.6, 10.7 (67)
Goals: (North Wagga) T Curtis 5, T Bennetts 2, J Thompson 2 C Winter, J Morris, J Campbell, G Ward; (EWK) C Ladhams 3, C Gordon 2, J Turner 2, H Fitzsimmons, B Roberts, D Bromham.
Best: (North Wagga) C Winter, B Alexander, T Curtis, M Thomas, L Walsh, T Bennetts; (EWK) T Pocock, H Fitzsimmons, K North-Flanagan, H Nelson, B Absolum, E Andrews.
Nitschke-Schmidt Medallist: Cayden Winter (North Wagga)
Gate: $36,083 (record)