Willie Heta calls it resilience.
Whatever it is, the Orange Hawks captain-coach will want to bottle it ahead of the 2019 finals after his side showed immense grit in defence to claim a 34-22 derby win over Orange CYMS and the club's first Group 10 minor premiership since 2013.
Hawks were in a similar position in 2018 but bowed out of the finals a game short of the decider after losing some big name players during the season.
They lost more in the lead-up to this year too, but Heta says the two blues have never lost faith and on the back of that will now host the 2019 major semi-final and take on the winner of Bathurst Panthers and Mudgee for the right to host this year's grand final.
"Resilience, for sure," an elated Heta said post game.
We never set our sights on (the minor premiership) but it's been a great regular season for us and we definitely deserve it.Hawks skipper Willie Heta.
"It's been a building phase for a few years now. To keep that core group together and back the structure we've implemented for the club, not just the top side, we've got good depth ... hopefully we can continue it heading into the business end.
"We never set our sights on this but it's been a great regular season for us and we definitely deserve it."
In front of a big crowd at Wade Park on Sunday CYMS started well and threw plenty at the blue wall in the opening 10 minutes but couldn't crack Hawks' defence.
And then when Heta's boys got a sniff down the other end of the field, they capatilised.
Quick-fire tries to Corey Brown - he bagged two - and Duncan Young rocketed Hawks to a 16-0 lead after 22 minutes.
In the end that start proved the difference, the two sides going tit-for-tat for essentially the next hour. CYMS though, never got closer than 12 points as their 2019 season continued to slip away.
Hawks scored second half-tries through Jared Brodrick, Eman Rodriguez and backrowers Talon Hodge and Rakai Tuheke and the margin could have been bigger if not for the wayward boot of Young.
He booted three from seven but in a gale can be forgiven.
CYMS' scored through returning-man mountain Joseph Ualesi, Lachie Munro and Damon Goolagong but their spark was again Ryan Griffin.
The electric rake scored CYMS' first try - a tremendous individual effort just before the break - to give the green and golds' life at half-time.
But they just couldn't turn sustained pressure into points, and it's been that way all season.
"We wanted to be playing finals footy next week and that was the goal from the start of the year. To miss out on that is disappointing," CYMS player-coach Dom Maley said.
CYMS has finished the year in sixth place.
'We just didn't have that continuity or consistency we were after. One week we'd be beaten by a margin and then the next stick it to a top side," he added.
"Inconsistencies cruelled us and coming into a game like today you hope you can put it together but realistically you need to be doing it week in, week out."
Hawks' lost centre Corey Brown in the second half with a foot injury, the classy three-quarter will have an x-ray on Monday to determine the extent of that injury.
While pack leader Ethan McKellar dislocated his finger in the fourth minute but returned to play an inspirational role in Hawks' win, their 14th of the season.
Injury or no injury - this Hawks side is resilient, after all - Heta was confident both will be key players in the finals race.
But he said it's his side's work collectively that'll prove crucial.
"Definitely our defence. If we can maintain possession teams are going to find it hard to keep us away from the white line. Defence is playing a big part for us this year and it showed today," he smiled.
- ORANGE HAWKS 34 (Corey Brown 2, Duncan Young, Eman Rodriguez, Jared Brodrick, Rakai Tuheke, Talon Hodge tries; Duncan Young 3 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 22 (Ryan Griffin, Lachlan Munro, Damon Goolagong, Joseph Ualesi tries; Luke Petrie 3 goals)
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