DEPUTY Premier John Barilaro might be well advised to be careful what you wish for.
Having thrown plenty of verbal punches in his surprisingly combative speech to the NSW Nationals' state conference in Inverell almost two weeks ago - when he said the bush was being treated poorly and he wasn't going to take it any more - he's now been given a chance to put words into action.
But spoiling for a fight is not the same as having (and winning) one.
And creating unrealistic expectations is fine as long as people get enough of a chance to forget about them.
Unfortunately for Mr Barilaro, his timing was off: days after his Inverell shadow boxing came news that Essential Energy would be cutting around 180 jobs across the state.
This was a true bad news story: an energy company (and they are about as popular as banks after years of bill rises) cutting jobs in a drought-hit state with nothing but some bland corporate justifications to explain it.
Nationals members, perhaps taking their lead from their leader, have been aggressive in their denunciations.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole told the Advocate last week the company would be getting a "pretty good rocket up them" and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall went so far as to call for the Essential CEO himself to be sacked.
In a statement, Mr Barilaro called for an immediate stop to the job cuts, but also noted that "Essential Energy is a corporatised entity that reports to a board".
(Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders has been more blunt about the government's options. "They are a company and all companies are able to make their own decisions on their workforce," he said.)
So where does all that leave us? It leaves us with Mr Barilaro free to be furious about Essential's cuts, but Essential also free to go ahead with them.
The angrier Mr Barilaro gets, and the more blunt his demands, the weaker he'll look if the government can't change the company's mind and the jobs are lost as they were originally intended.
An agreement negotiated in the Fair Work Commission last week has put a temporary halt to Essential's plans, but there is still a final act to be played out in all this.
Through timing and circumstance, Mr Barilaro has been given his mission: stop the Essential job cuts. The question is whether he chooses to accept it.