Souths have claimed their second Newcastle Rugby League premiership in three seasons after a hard-fought 30-18 win over Lakes at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The Lions crossed twice in the closing stages after scores had been locked at 18-all with 10 minutes remaining.
Minor premiers Lakes led 10-8 at half-time.
Souths winger Harry van Dartel, who started at lock and finished at fullback, received the JJ Wilson Medal for man of the match.
EARLIER: Souths lock Tori Freeman will not play in Sunday’s Newcastle Rugby League grand final against Lakes at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Last season’s NSW Country under-23 player of the year was not named on the team sheet, announced an hour before kick-off.
Connor Browne will now start for the Lions while 2016 premiership winner Lewis Schneider comes onto the bench.
Lakes have indicated hooker Daniel Peck will start the game with Casey Burgess going to lock and captain Shaun Boss sliding to prop.
Knights under-20 representative Ben Talty returns to the 17 for Callum Butler.
Earlier in the lower grade deciders, Macquarie (reserves), Souths (opens), Maitland (under 19s) and Wests (ladies league tag) were successful.
COMBINATION:Charles players fly together at Seagulls