IT was one thing for Bathurst Bulldogs duo Marita Shoulders and Mel Waterford to once again line up for the immensely talented NSW Country side but it was another to claim the Chikarovski Cup on home soil at Ashwood Park.
The chance to fulfil that goal was something the pair had described as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" in the week leading up to the second and deciding round.
And they did so among one of the most high calibre NSW Country teams assembled.
Together with Dubbo's Kim Fyfe, Panuara-born Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton and a host of Australia representative talent the Bulldogs players gave Country their first taste of cup success.
Country swept all before them across the two weekends of play, finishing things off with an emphatic 39-7 win over Sydney Gold.
Spirits were soaring and emotions running high after the final whistle on Sunday, as the celebrations and photos continued for some time under a very warm Bathurst sky.
But the heat was something the Country players were hardly feeling in the midst of the cheers - all jubilant after ending three years of Sydney dominance in the cup.
The crucial win ended up being the first game Country played - a determined 24-15 success over defending champion Sydney Blue.
Shoulders said that game set the tone for Country's next two clashes the following weekend.
"The girls just came together very well. They were looking at how they were going to do the calculations but they didn't have to bother with that because we won all three games. That made it simple," she said.
"All these girls are very strong defenders and I think we showed that a lot in our first game we had defended for half of the game and were still able to come away with the win.
"None of us have trained together and these teams train together twice a week. We just come together to play footy and we love it. They've all been a great group of girls who have been accepting of everyone."
Waterford has had her share of success on Ashwood Park but Sunday may have been the most memorable of all of them.
Helping Country claim their breakthrough cup on home soil was a feeling the Bulldogs forward won't forget.
"It's the first time I've won a cup with the Country team and to be able to do it at Bathurst, on my home ground, is something I'll treasure for a long time," she said.
"One of our big things was communication, line speed and aggression off the ball. I think today, especially, we managed to achieve all of those and come together really well as a team.
"We've got some young girls coming through in this team who you will see in a Waratahs or a Wallaroos jumper. There are girls already playing at Wallaroo level and it's amazing to be around a team with that level of players."
The win was also a special one for fellow Central West player Fyfe, who has had her share of trips to Ashwood Park.
Normally on those occasions she'd be lining up against Shoulders and Waterford but standing alongside them and a rising crop of Country talent is something Fyfe cherishes.
Fyfe was the starting tighthead prop for Country in their final win, playing a big role in defence alongside a dominant forward pack.
The Kangaroos star said it was satisfying to not only win in the Central West but also to learn from some of the nation's top rugby talent.
"I really enjoyed playing at home in Central West. It shows the heart and soul of where we come from, and we brought that onto the field today," she said.
"We've been working on the 10-20-30s and our line speed. That was so important. I thought we defended really well today. Getting off the line quick made a difference.
"It's a privilege to play alongside some of the greatest players in the game today. To have that experience and knowledge on the field is great, and you can take that back to your local level in the Central West. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn by having them there."