THERE will be some sleepless nights for members of the Muswellbrook Eagles Saturday all-age side, after they won their semi-final and booked a spot in the "big dance" in two weeks' time.
After going 2-0 up early on in the home match against Lake Macquarie, the only side the Eagles hadn't defeated in the regular season, the opposition stepped up and eventually added one of their own mid-way through the second period.
The assistant referees caused despair for both teams, with a goal apiece being disallowed due to an offside call from the officials.
Andrew Nolan was a notable returnee in defence, showing no signs of rust as he mopped up numerous attacks and eventually secured the players' player award.
Striker and specialist poacher Andrew Spradbrow scored both goals for the home side, largely thanks to Kurt Huber's creation down the left wing.
Other standout performances came from central midfielders Hamish McTaggart, Lindsey Smith and veteran Mitch Vesic.
The final will give the Eagles a shot at their first premiership since 2013, which is also the last time the side went undefeated in a season.
That comment may seem odd for those who read the article on the side last week, which stated they had suffered a 0-3 loss to Hamilton Azzurri.
However, a mid-week decision has seen the Newcastle side stripped of that victory, and their place in the finals.
They were found to have used multiple unregistered players, a violation that saw them disqualified from the competition and allowed the Eagles to claim the highly sought-after "undefeated" title.
South Wallsend took their place in the play-offs, but were immediately eliminated by Lambton Jaffas in a penalty shootout at Victoria Park.
They will now take on Lake Macquarie in the preliminary final to decide who tackles Muswellbrook in a fortnight at a neutral venue in Branxton.
The club's Friday night side bowed out to Toronto Awaba 4-1, putting an end to a highly competitive season.
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