Less than a week ago a glut of Orange Emus and Bathurst Bulldogs' Westfund Ferguson Cup outfits were arm-in-arm helping Central West to a magnificent NSW Country Rugby Union Championship, on Saturday they'll cast those friendships aside though.
Only for about 40 minutes though.
"That's the beauty of the game. Both sides will go out there, play hard rugby in good spirits and try to get one over the other but then once we're off the field we are all really good friends," Emus stalwart Amanda Ferguson said.
...we're expecting an even better Bulldogs side than we faced last time around.Emus stalwart Amanda Ferguson
There's little doubt that hard rugby will be a feature of Saturday's round nine clash of the heavyweights too, the fourth-placed Emus are just four points adrift of the undefeated, competition-leading Bulldogs.
The Mel Waterford-led Bathurst side are also the only outfit to have beaten Ferguson's troops in 2019 too.
"It's a big one, for sure," Ferguson said.
"It was round four when we played them last time and we've come a long way as a team since then in terms of coming together and building combinations, but also individually as well.
"That works both ways of course and we're expecting an even better Bulldogs side than we faced last time around."
That's actually a pretty ominous thought, Bulldogs being better than they were in round three, because they were superb that day.
Emus were strong too, but weight of possession worked against the greens and Bulldogs reaped the reward to win 26-19.
Jakiya Whitfield scored all four of the Bathurst side's tries that day and it remains to be seen whether she'll play on Saturday but even so, Ferguson said her side "can't afford to focus on one player".
"They're very good right across the paddock, everywhere really, so we can't be trying to shut down any one player," she said, with stopping Bulldog's second-chance play crucial to her side's hopes.
"First-up contact, winning that and making sure the tackles stick is a big one. Last time around we just didn't have much of the ball really, we didn't have enough possession, so we'll be trying to stay patient and retain the ball a bit more, that's a big focus."
Saturday's clash kicks off at 11.45am, at Endeavour Oval.
- ORANGE EMUS: 1 Mackinley Gilliver, 2 Amanda Ferguson, 3 Karina Kiley, 4 Erin Brown, 5 Amber Ohlsen, 6 Alex Walker, 7 Jacky Lyden, 8 Nikita Campbell, 9 Em McDonald, 10 Nikki D'Aquino, 11 Tara Reay, 12 Tabua Tuinakauvadra, 13 Milika Tuinakauvadra, 14 Tanya Miller, 15 Lailee Phillips, 16 Davina Wright, 17 Cheyanne Grant, 18 Shianne Clark
WANT MORE ORANGE AND REGIONAL SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...