THERE was uncertainty about whether they would be able to field a side at the start of the year but the Cowra Magpies now find themselves one win away from the inaugural Western Premiership Reserve Grade title.
Led by Group 10 coach of the year Will Ingram the Magpies have progressed leaps and bounds over the back half of the season to mark themselves as a force in the competition.
It took until round eight for Cowra to string back-to-back wins together but from that point on no-one has been able to clips the Magpies' wings.
They'll go up against CYMS with a 10-game win streak to their name but face a Fishies squad on a six-game run of their own.
Cowra are now within reach of their first reserve grade title since 2009, but with this being the inaugural season of the Western-wide competition it's a premiership that would mean a lot more to the town.
One of the players who will be key in trying to make that happen will be hooker Jack Nobes.
He said things have been clicking for the side every since the midway point of the season and he hopes that momentum can carry on for one more game.
"It's probably something unexpected considering where we were at the start of the year, and it definitely wasn't a great start to the season either. Half way through I think we gained a bit of belief and it rolled on from there," he said.
"We barely had a side to start reserve grade, let alone firsts, but then after a few games a few people poked their heads through the door and said they'd be interested in a run. The results started to come and that made a few blokes keen.
"The Hatch brothers [Mitch and Daniel] have been involved - one's been playing juniors and the other has missed out for a bit - and there's a few older heads like Chris Wilson, who's had a fair few run of injuries that might have put some people out for the rest of their careers but he's come back to help out and he's had a great year."
Cowra had lost 32-16 to the Bears way back in the second round of the season but the difference in performance quality between that Magpies side and the one who triumphed last weekend was night and day.
Bears had come into the game full of confidence after handily dispatching St Pat's a week earlier.
Magpies quickly sapped that confidence away with one of their best attacking showings of the 2023 campaign.
Nobes said that it was just one of those days where everything fell into place.
"Everything we touched turned to gold," he said.
"I haven't played in many games where the other team couldn't get much going while everything we wanted to happen kept happening.
"The ball bounced our way at times but credit to the boys for being in the right place and doing the one percenters."
Now they'll need another performance of that quality to overcome Group 11's defending champion team on their home turf.
"It's such an unknown for us," Nobes said.
"We know what they're like as a club and how strong they'll be. Personally, and I've said this to the boys, that there's no point diving much into something that we can't control.
"We just need to turn up and keep doing what we've been doing every week instead of trying to be something that we're not."
The reserve grade grand final is set for an 11.45am kick off this Sunday at Apex Oval.