ECHUCA United created history when it won its first senior club and Murray Football Netball League premiership with a 62-point win against Mulwala at Tocumwal on Saturday.
The Eagles were formed in 1994 following a merger of Echuca South and Echuca East football clubs and joined the MFNL in 1997.
They had the opportunity to win the premiership in 2006 but had their colours lowered by Nathalia in the second of their four flags in a row.
But six years later it was the Eagles who led from start to finish, increasing the margin at every break with a scintillating display of football.
For Mulwala it was another heart-breaking setback when it counted most.
The perennial finalists have seen more top finishes than any other club but that next step has become a massive hurdle in trying to join their 1990 premiership heroes.
United coach Scott Beattie led by example in winning the player of the finals medal as well as the VCFL medal for best on ground despite breaking his cheekbone late in the second quarter.
“This win is not for the players,” Beattie said.
“It’s just as much for everyone involved in the club.
“I can’t really say what it means at the moment.
“I’m just lost for words.”
Beattie said players had been determined to maintain a strength over their opposition even when a bye in the final round meant the Eagles were playing just their second game in six weeks.
“We had a real focus to be better longer. I really thought we were over the whole game,” Beattie said.
“I thought we settled early and moved the footy well.
“Things were sharp and even after five or six minutes I was pretty confident we could do the job ahead.
“Overall I didn’t think we carried a passenger.”
From the opening bounce Echuca United looked better drilled, more intense and classier.
United dominated the midfield where Beattie, Liam Guinan and Rowan Priest feasted on the dominance of ruckman Clayton Zanella.
Crumbing forward Farran Priest set the tone kicking three opening quarter goals while at the other end it took Mulwala 13 minutes for its first entry inside 50 metres.
Mulwala’s forward-line was non-existent as the defence of the Eagles allowed the Lions only one first-half goal.
United defenders, led by co-captain Craig Frost in his 150th match and supported by Ryan Prendergast, James Coppock, Jake Guinan, Josh Rankins and Jarrod Prior, were in a real shut-down mode.
Mulwala found some rhythm in the second-half kicking seven goals, but were still outclassed by the Eagles with 11 majors.
Mulwala coach Nic O’Bryan led by example trying to lift his troops, but found few helpers with Kyle Archibald, defenders Keegan Oliver, Josh Slattery and James Wilson worthy of mention.
“I suppose they were just better than us on the day,” O’Bryan said.
“I thought we had a go, but couldn’t apply the pressure that was required.
“They use the ball well and run pretty hard.”