Central North's first home Richardson Shield triumph was about more than getting their hands back on some silverware. It was about restoring some pride in the jersey and hopefully encouraging more players to get involved in the rep program.
After just scraping through to the final courtesy of a penalty try after the bell, the Kookaburras overpowered Mid North Coast 41-17 in yesterday's final.
Their first Richardson Shield win since 2015 - the sunny skies that bathed Scully Park yesterday a stark contrast to the mud of Bowral - it has been an at times tough road back.
"It's been a bit of a rebuild, from 2018 basically not having a Kookaburras side to 2019 getting a fair touch up in the Richardson Shield final, last year not executing and then getting pipped and then this year to win the final," co-captain Daniel Kahl said.
"But there's a really good core group of blokes now in their mid-20s that have seen what the program can bring to them and hopefully now they buy into that and we can continue to build and start attracting even more of the best players in the zone."
Fellow co-captain Andrew Collins added that it was "good to get some pride back in the zone".
"We've got the platform now. We've just got to keep building and building," he said.
The platform for Sunday's win was the scrum.
After saving them against Western Plains on Saturday, it was again a huge weapon for them. They asserted a tidal wave of pressure on the Axemen, with No.8 Nick McCrohan scoring three tries off the back of pushover scrums.
"It was beautiful," Collins said of the scrum.
Impressive against the Plainsmen it felt like they turned the dial up another couple of notches for the final. Kahl said they thought it might take a bit of time to work into it and really get some traction from it.
But it was almost immediate, McCrohan picking off the back of a wheeled scrum to give the Kookaburras a 7-nil lead after 10 minutes.
It got their tails up, after having to snuff out an early raid from the Axemen.
Jayden Kitchener-Waters then finished off some good interplay from the backs to push them out to a two-try advantage midway through the first half.
Mid North Coast closed to 14-7 but another two pushovers to McCrohan and a late penalty to Brendan Rixon saw the Kookaburras take a 29-7 lead into the break.
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It was a different side to the previous day. Whereas they struggled to string more than one phase together, they were a lot more settled and able to really capitalise on their scrum dominance.
"Today our backs clicked too. We were a bit disjointed yesterday with new combinations and the set piece brought us home," Kahl said.
"But the scoreline today shows that with that set piece and some combinations starting to form in the rep team that we can be pretty dangerous if we put it all together."
Kitchener-Waters showed his class, the fullback finishing with a double. His second made it 34-7 with just under half an hour to play.
Seemingly looking comfortable, Collins conceded they probably "got a bit excited" and caught up in the catch-up style of footy that the Axemen started to play, and there was a brief flutter of nerves as the coastal side got back to 34-17 with 20 to play.
But the Kookaburras tightened their game up and Sam Crane scored a settler after some great play between Felix Cobb-Johnson and Kitchener-Waters.
Tim McDermott was again a towering presence, not just in the lineout but generally in both attack and defence and duly named the player of the final.
Central Coast meanwhile won a thrilling Caldwell Cup final, beating Central West 32-29 in extra-time.
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