Griffith University has won the second round of the Uni 7s, beating the University of Queensland 21-7 in a tight final to seal their first tournament win of the season.
The defending series champions, Griffith did not make the decider in the opening round at UQ a fortnight ago and were shock losers to Bond Uni in their opening round match this weekend.
But they fought back into the top four and beat Sydney Uni 14-12 in a tough semi-final to make the decider against favourites UQ, who were coming off a win in the season-opener at St Lucia.
Griffith captain Laura Waldie praised the brave effort of her team, who won several games in the dying stages to seal their place in the final, before pushing over the top of the favourites in the second half of the decider to keep their title defence alive.
"We had that belief in each other that we could do it but UQ are such a strong team that we knew that we had to work for every second of the game to get anything," she said.
"We were extremely disappointed (after the first tournament) but it was kind of what we needed to calm u s back down and help us work harder.
"We had a lot of injuries as well, so we used the depth of our entire squad as well.
"We had to win every game in the last minute and work for every try, so it feels a lot better when we come away with the gold."
The form guide had to be thrown out after several "shock" results through the rounds and Griffith coach Moana Virtue said this year's series was the closest yet in three years of the Aon Uni 7s championship.
A tough semi-final win - Waldie said she and her Griffith teammates had to put their "big girl pants on" to compete physically - was followed by a grinding effort against UQ in the final, where Griffith withstood the champions' pressure in the second half to break the 7-7 deadlock, running in tries to Eloise Schlecht and Kahli Henwood to seal victory.
UQ maintain their spot at the head of the competition ladder though, four points ahead of Griffith, with the University of Sydney third, followed by UTS, finalists in the first round in Brisbane.
Sunday 29 September
9th/10th Playoff - UNE 14 def by University of Melbourne 29
7th/8th Playoff - UWA 10 def by UTS 21
5th/6th Playoff - Bond Uni 14 def by University of Adelaide 26
Bronze Medal Match - University of Sydney 10 def by University of Canberra 12
Gold Medal Match - UQ 7 def by Griffith Uni 21
3rd Pool A (Bond Uni) 26 d 4th Pool B (UWA) 5
3rd Pool B (UTS) 19 def by 4th Pool A (Uni of Adelaide) 21
1st Pool A (UQ) 15 d 2nd Pool B (Uni of Canberra) 0
1st Pool B (Uni of Sydney) 12 def by 2nd Pool A (Griffith Uni) 14
UNE 14 def by Bond University 19
Griffith University 17 drew with University of Adelaide 17
University of Melbourne 7 def by UTS 40
University of Western Australia 5 def by University of Canberra 17
DAY ONE RESULTS
University of Queensland 26 d University of Adelaide 21
Bond University 17 d Griffith University 12
UTS 5 def by University of Canberra 29
University of Melbourne 7 def by University of Sydney 31
University of Queensland 24 d Bond University 12
Griffith University 22 d UNE 19
University of Canberra 0 def by University of Sydney 24
UTS 26 d University of Western Australia 24
University of Adelaide 26 d UNE 12
Griffith University 14 d University of Queensland 7
University of Sydney 17 d University of Western Australia 14
University of Canberra 17 d University of Melbourne 0
University of Adelaide 12 drew Bond University 12
University of Queensland 28 d UNE 24
University of Western Australia 14 d University of Melbourne 10
University of Sydney 15 def by UTS 19