The Parkes Spacemen may come to look back at the June long weekend derby win over Forbes as one of the key moments of their 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership campaign.
Sam Dwyer was back at Pioneer Oval that weekend, having made the trip home from Wollongong to take in what is always one of the best games of the season.
It was during that match fullback Jake Dooley suffered a horror broken leg so immediately some began to look at their former No. 1 sitting in the crowd as a possible replacement.
He was told a premiership win was a real prospect for his beloved hometown club and with a number of close mates playing in red, white and blue he agreed to link up and travel back each week for the remainder of the season.
It has proved a fantastic decision as Dwyer was again one of Parkes' best on Sunday when the Spacemen eliminated the Wellington Cowboys and won through to a preliminary final meeting with Dubbo CYMS.
Dwyer scored twice during a blistering first half hour in which the hosts at Pioneer Oval raced out to a 22-0 lead.
The Cowboys fought back and at 22-14 things were tense for the Spacemen faithful, but Parkes avoided a late collapse like they suffered a week prior at Mudgee and went on to win 36-26.
"That was awesome," Dwyer said of the win, before speaking about the decision to return home to play.
"All the boys, it's such a good bunch and we're a close-knit group so that made the decision easier."
The only downside is having to make the near five-hour drive back to Wollongong on a Sunday night to be back for work on Monday morning.
"It's not too bad but it's pretty hard going back after a game on a Sunday," he said.
"But it's good coming down and it's good seeing the family and friends."
Dwyer can't get to training each week but he said the fact a number of the Spacemen have played together for the best part of a decade makes slotting in each week easy, and that was clear to see early on Sunday.
After captain-coach Chad Porter opened the scoring on six minutes - and Blake Ferguson's kick-off then went out on the full - Dwyer grabbed his first when he was on the spot to collect a brilliant one-handed offload from Will Wardle.
The fullback had his second on 14 minutes after a fantastic long-range effort started by Rex Yallon and Takitau Mapapalangi.
Wardle got a deserved try on 30 minutes and only some wayward conversions kept the score to 22-0.
The Cowboys were in danger of being blown away but the sin-binning of Cody Crisp for a dangerous throw - which also had him put on report - changed things.
Wellington scored twice before half-time to make it 22-10 and they were the first to cross following the restart through a second four-pointer for winger Timmy Boney-Stewart.
The sides swapped tries and then Porter kicked a penalty to make it 30-18 and then the hosts put themselves well in control when Jim Dabea grabbed his second with nine to go.
Wellington scored two late tries but they were just a consolation as the Spacemen secured a preliminary final meeting with Dubbo CYMS.
The Cowboys were understandably despondent at full-time, most of all captain-coach Justin Toomey-White, but there was a lot for the Cowboys to be proud of.
Having won just once last season, the Cowboys surprised many in 2023 but were fully deserving of a spot in the second week of finals.
"This definitely wasn't part of the plan," Toomey-White said after the game.
"But you can't give away a 22-0 start in a final. That will come back to bite you.
"Bu the thing I'm proud of is the boys, they never gave up. We scored a try in the 80th minute.
"It was tough talking to the boys just then."
While the Cowboys were left to rue what could have been, there were Parkes fans already getting excited about next weekend's meeting with CYMS and the chance to win through a first grand final since 2015.
"Obviously CYMS is class and they always have been," Dwyer said.
"Every year they're a really good side and they're tough but we've got the team to do it."
- PARKES SPACEMEN 36 (Sam Dwyer 2, Jim Dabea 2, Chad Porter, Will Wardle, Jacob Smede tries; Porter 4 goals) defeated WELLINGTON COWBOYS 26 (Timmy Boney-Stewart 2, Preston Simpson 2, Mac Dutfield, Seaun Stanley Jr tries; Blake Ferguson conversion)