FIFTEEN years ago at Carrington Park, the night before the Blowes Clothing Cup grand final, CSU coach James Kelly shared a beer with his players and stressed to them the importance of treating the next day the same as any other.
Kelly believed if his players could control their nerves, they had the talent - and more importantly the trust in each other - to beat Orange Emus and be crowned the Blowes Clothing Cup champions.
As it turns out he was right. CSU won 30-13.
So now, as the CSU first XV has qualified for a Central West Rugby Union grand final for the first time since that September afternoon in 2004, Kelly hopes that the past can serve as a lesson.
"I do remember the one thing that team did have is that they all trusted each other and they all understood what their role on the field would be. There was never a question as to how each individual was going to play," Kelly said.
"That was the key to that group - the trust they had in each other.
"I also remember sitting down on the halfway line at Carrington Park the night before with a carton of beer after we'd trained down there, sitting down there with the whole team and saying 'Guys, it's just another game'.
"We only lost one game all season and that was the first game of the year, we lost to Bulldogs in that very first game. On the [grand final] day we were probably favourites to win it."
In 2004 CSU played in the Blowes Clothing Cup, but come this Saturday at Narromine's Cale Oval, they will be battling the Gorillas for glory in the second-tier New Holland Cup.
In 2004 the grand final day also featured the students' seconds in action - they beat Dubbo Kangaroos 34-27 - while the CSU women went down 17-7 to Orange Emus.
This year CSU's second XV fell one win short of the decider, while the women will play their Ferguson Cup preliminary final on Saturday against the Emus in Orange.
However, one thing that is the same is Dave Conyers. He was Kelly's co-coach in 2004 and this season has guided CSU alongside Peter Koen.
Kelly is confident that Conyers will have instilled the same sort of trust within the playing squad that the last group of CSU premiership winners had.
"I would imagine Cons has [brought that this year], he's old school with that stuff. I'm sure they've worked very hard and I'm sure they've belted each other plenty of times at training - that is Dave Conyers," Kelly laughed.
"He will have brought that accountability back to them on the field."
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While Kelly admits it is a "very different feel, very different club now, it's a different era" at CSU, he does see another similarity between the current squad and his 2004 champions.
"I think any team that is going to be successful in a competition like that, it needs to be a special year, it's not about individuals, it needs to be the way that the group operates together," he said.
"It's no different to this group now, they were all young then expect for Tans [Peter Tanner]. They were all very young and different, but that's the advantage of a uni club.
"The big thing about the CSU Rugby Club is they're all at the same stage of their life, they're all friends, mates, they all hang out together and do all sorts of things together. The club is a very special kind of feeling to any other club because it is a short period of your life that you're involved with it."
Since he stood down from coaching CSU at the end of season 2005, Kelly has "very much" kept an eye on what the Mitchell men have done in Central West Rugby Union.
Last year he saw them fall just one win short of the inaugural New Holland Cup grand final under the guidance of Luke Kelly.
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This year he's seen CSU continue to impress with Conyers and Koen at the helm.
CSU became the first side to defeat Narromine in the competition when prevailing 33-29 at University Oval in round four.
The students also hosted a final - last Saturday's preliminary final against the Mudgee Wombats - for the first time since 2009.
Narromine is the only side to have defeated CSU this season - twice in the regular rounds and again in the major semi-final. All those came at Cale Oval, the same venue as this Saturday's decider.
While that means the Gorillas will be favourites this Saturday, Kelly has seen enough games of rugby to know that an upset can not be dismissed.
"I would say yes they [Narromine] are the raging hot favourites, but a grand final is a very different day and it's as much about anything as to how you handle the grand final," he said.
"It's certainly not the team with the best individuals in their unit which will win on the day. Back when I did it, it was about keeping them calm enough to be able to play. We'd played in semi-finals the two years beforehand but they'd lost it because they'd got too excited and too worked up about it."
Kick-off is 3.15pm.