It might have been too little, too late, but the Yass Magpies shone on the weekend with a 36-32 defeat of the Queanbeyan Blues at Walker Park.
After a tough start to the season saw the Magpies lose 10 of their first 11 matches, Yass coach Cam Hardy was still confident that his side possessed the quality to challenge the top teams.
He was proven unequivocally right on Saturday.
"We knew they were tough," Hardy said, "[but] they definitely were missing Campo [Terry Campese] and probably Steve McQueen."
The difference from the Magpies, Hardy said, was "the little bit of patience" they showed when deep in Blues territory.
Early in the season, Yass had a habit of pushing for the tryline without waiting for the proper opening.
But on Saturday, the Magpies displayed excellent decision-making and took advantage of Queanbeyan's at times harried defence.
"Sometimes we took our opportunities when they were presented," Hardy said.
"Sometimes we coughed it up early in the sets, but we're finally starting to get a bit of a spine combination with six, seven, one and nine."
This consistency in the playing 17 has been a long time coming for Yass, and it seems to have peaked with the performance of new fullback, Bayley Maher.
"[Maher]'s brought some definite energy to the team and some potency at the back," Hardy said.
"He started two weeks ago against the [Woden] Rams and got Players' Player in his first first grade match. His energy off the ball and his talk at the back, it's been a little bit needed."
As it is past the halfway point in the season, Hardy acknowledged that the Magpies are too far down the ladder to have a chance at making finals.
However, he hopes that a strong finish to the year will allow the team to run into the 2020 pre-season with confidence.
"All the boys can see the plays slowly starting to work," Hardy said.
"We've worked really hard over the last month, we train long and hard and work on our groundwork and control of the ruck and it's noticeable and very pleasing."
This weekend, the Magpies will aim to back up on their win against the Belconnen United Sharks. The match will begin from 3.00pm on Saturday, July 13, at Walker Park.