DANIEL Fabrizio was the matchwinner but retiring club legend Daniel McBreen was the inspiration as Edgeworth defeated Maitland 2-0 in the NNSW NPL grand final at Magic Park on Sunday.
In the Eagles' fifth consecutive grand final under coach Damian Zane, Fabrizio scored in the 81st minute with a goal-line header and in the 88th with a long-range strike to down the premiers.
It was a sweet victory for Edgeworth who won their previous two grand finals at Magic Park, in 2015 and 2016, but lost the past two, both at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The match was a first top-division grand final for Maitland, who claimed their maiden first-division premiership to deny the Eagles a fifth consecutive regular-season title.
It was a fitting farewell for 42-year-old McBreen, who came on in the 51st minute for injured striker OIiver Smith (hamstring). The substitution came early than many expected given it was McBreen's first league match since late July because a calf problem and coaching duties overseas.
Zane said he had asked his squad to lift for the former A-League golden boot, who started and finished his career at the Eagles.
"You just know Macca is going to do it in a big game," Zane said. "You could hear the talk when he came on, and sometimes these young boys need that bit of organisation. And we talked about it before the game. I think other codes are good at milestone matches, and I said 'We've got to be good. He's a legend of our club and let's send him off a winner'. And to their credit, they did."
McBreen, announced on Friday as the new Jets youth coach, appreciated the swansong performance.
"To finish off with these boys has been excellent," McBreen said. "The last four years has been emotional in a lot of ways, and I can't think of a better group to finish with, and they certainly sent me out in style."
Edgeworth dominated the second-half but Maitland started the game brighter.
Nick Cowburn hit the crossbar with a free kick on 11 minutes and Ryan Clarke was over the bar with a great chance in the 15th.
Edgeworth slowly found their feet and Keanu Moore had two of their best chances, in the 30th and 38th minutes, but Matt Trott made low diving saves to either side.
In the 40th minute, Fabrizio got in behind and had a one-on-one shot but Trott smothered the strike.
The Eagles threatened in the 68th minute when Fabrizio had a chance from close range saved but Clarke almost had Maitland ahead when a deflected strike was parried around the post by Josh Low in the 74th.
Coach Mick Bolch said Maitland paid the price for missing chances early.
"I thought we dominated the first 25, 30 minutes and you've got to take chances against Edgy," Bolch said.
"They've been doing it for a long time. They are resolute and very structured in what they do, and I think we pulled them apart all over the place in the first 25 minutes, but to their credit, they didn't concede, they were disciplined and held their shape."
"They got two goals in the last 10 minutes. Heartbreakers for the boys, but it is what it is."
Zane was proud of the effort to bounce back after falling short in their quest for fifth consecutive premiership.
"We had everything to lose here because we hadn't won anything," he said. "It would have been bittersweet to make it then miss out and not get a trophy. I think we've deserved something for the way we've continually kept going despite the setbacks."
Zane said Maitland surprised him with their formation but the Eagles adjusted.
"They changed it up a bit which took us by surprise and credit it to them," he said.
"They haven't played that way all year, and they were causing us a few issues, but we changed it midway through the first half and I thought then we started getting ascendancy.
"And second half, it was just one way. They might have had a few little moments, but I thought we were in total control.
"It was an interesting match. It was nil-all at half-time but it was quite open with chances at both ends.
"That's the key in football, to take your chances when you are on top and show some resilience when you are being dominated.
As expected, Matt Thompson came into the Maitland starting side for Mat Swan, who was away, and Ryan Broadley was added to the bench.
Edgeworth brought Moore into their starting line-up for Adam Cawley, who started the second semi-final against Jaffas but missed the decider with a lower-back injury.
In the earlier deciders, Hamilton Olympic defeated the Newcastle Jets 18s 2-0 in the 20 years match and the Jets 16s beat Adamstown 4-0 in the 18 years.
Connor Henderson scored and Jared Muller converted from the spot for Hamilton, while Josh Benson, Angus McLeod, Tom Parkes and Nicholas Pettiford scored for the 16 years Jets, who led 3-0 at half-time.