Albany Sharks are the Great Southern Football League premiers after a historic day at Sounness Park on Saturday. The Sharks, who were formed in 2008, emerged with an 18-point victory to spark incredible scenes among players and supporters as the GSFL’s newest club prevailed 9.12 (66) to 7.6 (48) in one of the great grand finals in recent memory. After losing to Railways in last year’s decider, the Sharks were an inspired side in the 2023 grand final and they started strongly with three goals in the opening stanza. The Sharks led at every change but the premiership win was anything but easy. The Tigers launched a spirited second-half comeback as they got within 14 points at the final change and that deficit was trimmed to just six points when Zak Hortin kicked the first goal of the fourth term. Chasing a historic three-peat of league flags the Tigers kept coming in the final term with a Jack Steel behind and Hortin out on the full proving pivotal moments in the last quarter. The Tigers had got the margin back to five points and a pulsating final 10 minutes unfolded. However the Sharks rallied again and it was Isaac Baum who sealed the momentous occasion for his side, kicking the final two goals of the game to seal victory. Baum marked strongly and converted to put his side 11 points up and then he missed a shot soon after to make it two straight kicks. However the experienced ball winner bobbed up with the icing on the cake, as he snapped brilliantly to send the Sharks’ faithful into raptures as they held on in a thrilling finish. An outstanding defensive display from Kane Pinney helped him secure a deserved Alan Barnett Medal as best on ground in the league grand final. The Sharks secured their place in history, coach Jamie Ramm and captain Tait McLean lifting the premiership cup aloft to end years of pain with a memorable 9.12 (66) to 7.6 (48) triumph. Early goals to Marlin Bennett, star forward Brett and speedster Mitch Collier had the Sharks 26 points ahead early in the third term and it appeared they were going to run away with the decider. But the Tigers would not go away and Want brought the buffer back to 20 points before he was awarded a mark on the three-quarter-time siren. Pushing into the breeze, Want went back and slotted a terrific set shot from 40m out to ignite his side going into the final change. The Sharks were able to set up their advantage in the opening term however and did enough to stay in front for the remainder of the afternoon. Fittingly it was 40-year-old AFL veteran Peake that kicked the first goal of the decider with a superb snap from the boundary line inside the opening three minutes - before turning to the beer tent to rejoice at his crafty finish. Hard-working midfielder Bryce Blaszkow booted the next two goals and despite a late Haydn Sproxton goal, the Tigers trailed by 16 points at the first change. Baum put the Sharks ahead by 23 points in the second when he kicked his first but the goal seemed to kick the Tigers into gear as they kicked the next three to go in at half time down by just one kick. Jack Steel earned a free kick and resulting 50m penalty before Kane Shephard made sure of a set shot and then Sproxton jailed his second. Despite the fierce challenge in the last half it was to be the Sharks’ day, as they stormed the ground on the final siren and let out a belting rendition of their club song on the oval in the aftermath of a history making afternoon. Pinney was simply superb in the back half, taking countless intercept marks and providing great rebound with his booming kick. Baum (three goals) and Blaszkow (two) were damaging throughout the afternoon while Cameron Jones and Robbie Lee set the tone early. Stewart Davies had great impact in the ruck while Kieran Zilm and Bennett were both strong contributors in the premiership win. Tigers skipper Bodhi Stubber was relentless in defence as he took marks and repelled the Sharks’ attacks regularly. Want was very busy in the second half and kicked two goals while Shepard, Mitch Green and Craig Frost were major ball winners. Midfield stars Logan Stubber and Jayden Scott failed to have their usual impact and grunt player Beau Ewen went down with a concerning leg injury late in the game. Ray Daniels was yellow carded early in the final term for tackling a player into the goal post and Lewis Bosch was sent off with a yellow in the dying minutes when tempers flared.