WHEN the Bathurst Panthers hoisted the Group 10 premiership cup on grand final day last year it was a moment the players relished, but now they have set their sights on another trophy.
It's the ANZAC Day Rugby League Memorial Trophy.
Every year since 2014, Bathurst rivals St Pat's and Panthers have done battle for that trophy on the weekend which falls closest to ANZAC Day.
Panthers have won the trophy every year - their most recent success a 20-4 result - and are intent on extending that record.
"The players probably have as much pride in winning this trophy as they do the grand final," Panthers president Dennis Comerford said.
"Well maybe that's me exaggerating a bit, but it's up there with a grand final, that's how important this trophy is, that's how much it means to the players.
"There are a lot of young blokes who play now but they still all appreciate the spirit of ANZAC, they still want to put that extra effort in to win that trophy. Even in the dressing sheds before the games, there's that real special buzz."
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The idea of the two clubs playing for the ANZAC Day Rugby League Memorial Trophy dates back to 2013 when Group 10 scheduled a derby around that time.
"We had a game with St Pat's back then very close to ANZAC Day. That was around the time when all the NRL clubs were getting behind ANZAC Day and wearing special jerseys and we saw it as a good opportunity to do something too," Comerford, who is an ex-serviceman, said.
Though there was no trophy that year, 12 months later there was.
"I approached the Bathurst RSL Sub Branch to see if they'd do an ANZAC Trophy for us to play for as they were already involved in the Soldiers Saddle for racing, harness racing and the greyhounds," Comerford said.
"I thought they might be interested in getting involved in another sport and they said they'd be keen."
The following year when it was Panthers' turn to host the ANZAC fixture, they added an extra element to the day. The club's first grade players wore special jerseys.
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"In 2015 when we hosted it was the centenary of World War I, so we did a jersey commemorating the army and their involvement at Gallipoli," Comerford said.
"In 2017 when we hosted again we decided to go with a navy design, there was a boat in World War II called HMAS Bathurst, so we said we'd do that.
"Now it's 2019 as we are hosting again, so we couldn't leave the air force out of it. We'd done World War I and World War II, and the two other wars that don't really get the recognition they deserve were Korea and Vietnam.
"So we've gone for a design with planes from Korea and Vietnam and the blue down the sides of the jersey represents the blue in the Royal Australian Air Force flag.
"For the players to wear a commemorative jersey like this - well they see it as more than just a jersey."
This year's trophy match is on April 27.