Valley club stalwart Cam Schultz was the inspiration for an emotional Citizens Shield victory on Saturday.
Schultz, who died last year, was on the mind of many players during the final, Valley captain Cameron Rowland said.
“We played a fair bit of that season for him, so it was pretty cool to get the job done,” Rowland said.
“He was talked about a fair bit on the paddock, that’s for sure, just to get us over the line.”
The key to Valley’s 22-19 win over Maheno was hanging tough and staying in touch during the first half when Maheno had the ascendancy, Rowland said.
“One of the coaches said if he had’ve told us at the start of the season it would be 19-14 in the final, with the wind behind us, you would take it every day.
“Sometimes finals footy is not that pretty.”
Even with a limited number of spectators, the atmosphere on the field was intense as neither team took a backward step.
Early on, it was all about Maheno, with two tries to Marcus Balchin and Nick McLennan within the first 15 minutes.
Valley hit back with a try against the run of play to Taine Stirling, before another McLennan try stretched Maheno’s lead to 19-7.
Crucially, Valley hit back just before halftime with a quick tap and try to Matt Vocea to get the score to 19-14.
With the wind at its back in the second half, Valley controlled the game, shutting Maheno out while adding a Hayden Gold try and Ben Paton penalty.
Maheno had a major chance in the second spell, but Junior Fakatoufifita made a try-saving tackle in the corner on Llew Johnson.
It was a close call. If you were wearing green it was an obvious try, and if you were in yellow he was clearly in touch.
But the assistant referee had the best view of all, and the try was not awarded.
The longer the game went on, the more the Weston-based side looked in control.
Its defence proved suffocating and it turned over the ball at crucial moments.
For Maheno, captain Hayden Tisdall was strong, McLennan directed play well and Johnson had some classy touches on attack and defence.
Valley’s best were young outside backs Paton and Stirling, while its forward pack was led well by Rowland and Sam Sturgess.
Valley coach Mike Mavor said the team had stuck to its game plan well.
“We felt if we kept our hands on the ball and put them under pressure we could tip them over, which worked out perfect,” he said.
“We had a fairly young team in a lot of ways .. I’m very proud of what they brought.”
Maheno could be proud of a good season and the final was a worthy occasion, he said.
“It was one of those games with a couple of fairly even teams. It’s a pity someone has got to lose, sometimes,” Mavor said.
“Regardless of what the result was, I feel like I would have been proud of the way the boys gave it everything.
“Sometimes you can be overawed in the final and then to be 12-0 down reasonably early, it could have got away.
“I was happy with the effort they put in, and as it turned out they got the reward.”