KOROIT'S stranglehold on the Hampden league extended into a sixth season after the Saints' juggernaut held off North Warrnambool Eagles in a classic grand final on Saturday. The Saints' coaching panel and supporters held their collective breath as Eagles veteran Ben Mugavin, who put in a herculean effort to win a best on ground medal, had a shot at goal to put his side in front with less than a minute to play. The kick, with a wet, heavy ball, sprayed wide and the Saints were soon celebrating an emotional 9.9 (63) to 8.12 (60) victory at a rain-soaked Reid Oval. For coach Chris McLaren, now a three-time premiership mentor, it was a relief followed by an overwhelming sense of pride in his team's never-say-die attitude. MORE GRAND FINAL: Koroit was 17 points up at quarter-time and 20 clear at the main break and it appeared destined to waltz to a sixth straight premiership. North Warrnambool Eagles had other ideas and, led by Mugavin in attack, clawed back within 11 points at the final break. From there the game was on a knife edge. Every play took on extra significance. Former AFL player Billie Smedts put the Eagles within six points when he soccered through a goal. Dynamic Saint Will Couch responded with a soccer shot of his own to give his team some breathing space. Loyal Eagle Matthew Wines was calm when he took the most important kick of his 250-plus game career. He slotted the long-range goal and suddenly the Eagles were within three points in the dying stages. Mugavin's shot missed before Sam Dobson took a saving mark in defence to all but seal victory. "Today it was trust the work we've put in, trust our confidence, trust our planning, trust we're a good team," McLaren said. "At no stage do we ever doubt what we're doing regardless of the situation." McLaren, who revealed key forward Jarrod Korewha played with a broken shoulder blade, backed his players in the tight finish but conceded he was nervous. "It was very stressful. I said to the boys on the bench 'this is it, we win or lose right here'," he said. "It is a flip of the coin isn't it? And I guess our boys' desire and will and refusal to lose just gave us that extra half a per cent which got us over the line. "I am very proud of what we've been able to deliver back to the community." Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.