There was agony and ecstasy on an emotion-filled weekend of finals sporting action around Newcastle.
Maitland Pickers produced a dominant display to claim the club's first Newcastle Rugby League premiership in over a decade.
The Pickers, also minor premiers, last won the major title in 2011.
It was one-way traffic as Maitland piled on seven tries and conceded only one while Macquarie were twice reduced to 12 men with different players given 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Prop Jayden Butterfield was named man of the match in Sunday's grand final victory less than 24 hours after becoming a father for the first time.
The win felt like three years in the making for Maitland coach Matt Lantry after two COVID-interrupted seasons.
Earlier, in the reserve-grade decider at McDonald Jones Stadium, Northern Hawks continued to state their case for promotion with a 20-0 win over West.
First loss for Knights in NRLW
Finals-bound Newcastle sustained their first defeat of the NRLW season, going down 18-16 to defending champions Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
The Knights did not win a game in their first campaign but were unbeaten in three starts of their second season ahead of the top-of-the-table clash with the Roosters.
They will look to bounce back against the Dragons in their final round game this weekend before making an historic finals appearance.
Some play on, some bow out
Broadmeadow and Newcastle Olympic both struck late to keep their seasons alive in NPLM Northern NSW.
Magic edged Lambton 2-1 in a fiery qualifying final on Sunday while Olympic ended Charlestown Azzurri's season in extra-time on Saturday.
Warners Bay sealed the NPLW NNSW premiership with a resounding 6-1 victory over Adamstown in the competition's final round on Sunday.
The Panthers battle Magic in the major semi-final while Charlestown will take on Olympic in the minor match-up.
In the first weekend of Hunter Rugby Union finals, Wanderers overcame a controversial red card to captain Ben Ham in a courageous five-point win over Maitland to end the Blacks' year.
The Two Blues now face Hamilton, who went down to Merewether in a thrilling major semi-final.
What else happened
For the second weekend in a row, Tigers triumphed in a penalty shoot-out to seal a place in the Newcastle District Women's Hockey Association grand final.
They now face Gosford, who have also booked passage to the men's Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League decider.
It is going to be an all-Central Coast affair in the men's Black Diamond Cup AFL title showdown after Terrigal Avoca defeated Cardiff in the preliminary final. It will be the Panthers' 10th straight grand final appearance. They play Killarney Vale.
The Bombers will also play in the women's match on Saturday, taking on competition heavyweights Newcastle City.