Albany coach Jamie Ramm has heaped praise on his players after the Sharks stormed to a second grand final in as many years, outlasting a persistent Royals side in a rousing preliminary final at Retravision Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Sharks held off a fast-finishing Lions outfit by 12 points to reach the Great Southern Football League decider, the victory setting up a premiership showdown with Railways, who the Sharks met in their maiden grand final appearance in 2022. Former AFL player Brett Peake was electric with six goals in the 11.5 (71) to 8.11 (59) victory, four of his majors coming in the opening quarter. A bumper crowd watched the Sharks conceding the first two majors before piling on the next six. The Sharks held control for the majority of the second and third terms and led by 22 points heading into the final quarter, but the Lions stormed back into the contest with three goals to get within four points. “Everyone did their part, it was just a real even team effort which is something that’s probably gone away a little bit recently,” Ramm said. “We maybe became too reliant on certain players and struggled when they didn’t fire but I thought it was a very even spread across the ground today. “To Royals credit, they’re a great side with some really dangerous players, they came back well and it certainly wasn’t over until the very end. “The message at three-quarter-time was to keep that belief, we’d done it for three quarters so it was just about keeping that up.” Ramm said his side deserved another chance at claiming a maiden league premiership. “We knew we weren’t going to get it all our way against a good side like Royals, we just had to make sure our length of time on top was longer than theirs and next week will be the same,” he said. “In the (qualifying final) against Railways we gave the first quarter away and were pretty much outplayed after that, it just shows you have to be right on your game in all four quarters in these finals. “The aim was to get there (grand final) and we’ve got there again, it gives us another chance to win it.” Joel Flick had the two opening majors of the game before Bryce Blaszkow fired back with the Sharks’ opener and Jayden Zilm converted a close-range snap to edge back within a point. Nic Ashford missed his attempt on goal and it was Peake who caught fire at the other end, kicking three quick goals to put his side up by 16 points. The 40-year-old kicked his fourth as the quarter-time siren sounded and let the Lions know all about it, sparking a melee. Ashford got the Lions first in the second term and Jayden Zilm answered back, the Lions then enduring a run of behinds before Ryan Kinnear snapped a clever goal from the boundary to bring them back within 14 points at half-time. Scores dried up early in the third before a rushed behind and a quick transition left Ashford with another opportunity, his effort brushing the post. Albany’s Isaac Baum broke the goal drought, nailing a 35m set shot to extend the margin to 19. Ashford and Corey Ward kicked behinds, but it was Peake who goaled from 20m out at the 23-minute mark to push the buffer beyond three goals. The Lions needed an inspired last term to overhaul the minor premiers and it looked as though Ward would be the man to spur an unlikely comeback, crumbing two balls from close range and kicking both attempts to bring his side within 10 points. The Lions had 12 forward-50 entries in the final term as they launched one last charge. Stephen Beal marked strongly 30m out before converting and the margin was cut to just four points. Sharks defender Cameron Jones missed at the other end but Bryce Blaszkow found an open Mitch Collier 30m out from goal, the youngster stemming the flow to push his side back out to 11 points. Peake proved the difference once again, however, this time nailing a freakish right-foot snap tucked up against the boundary to put them up by three goals with five minutes to play. Adrian Hardy pegged one back for the Lions but that would be the final score of the contest, the Sharks holding on for a memorable triumph. Isaac Baum was brilliant around stoppages and going forward, Kleemann medallist Robbie Lee showed why he is so highly rated with another influential all-round performance while Kane Pinney cut a composed figure in defence, intercepting and rebounding superbly. Jayden Zilm (two goals) was the other multiple goal kicker and George Bockman gave plenty of drive for the winners. For Royals, ruckman Beal was again a dominant force along with Ward whose impact escalated as the match developed, while Jayson Ford, Steven Edwards and brothers Joel and Ryan Flick also impressed. Ford was particularly influential after being moved to the midfield in the second half. The Lions’ cause wasn’t helped by injuries to key tall Taylor Powell (ankle) and rebound defender Brayden Parker (hamstring). The Sharks won the inside-50 count 47-42, with the first quarter telling as the Sharks kicked six goals straight from just 12 entries. In the first term there was an off-the-ball clash between Lions’ David Parker and Sharks’ Marlin Bennett. David Parker came from the field and returned with a bandage around his head.