Saturday proved a mixed bag of emotion for Hawks' gun Em McDonald.
Just hours after taking to the field in a tense, tough grand final loss for Emus across Bathurst at Ashwood Park, McDonald - alongside Jacky Lyden - kitted up again in blue across town for the Hawks in the side's qualifying semi-final against Orange CYMS.
Fortunately for the two blues, McDonald's troops had a better result than she'd had earlier in the day, claiming an 18-8 victory over their rivals despite the Emus pair being "drained and ridiculously sore", as McDonald put it.
"After losing a grand final you're obviously going to be mentally a bit down wondering what else you could've done but you've got to move on with the job which for both of us was league tag," she said.
Jess uses her speed off kick returns ... our under 18's girls have really stepped up this year.Em McDonald
"To get a win was unreal it's always good to win against cross town rivals there's no doubt CYMS have some talent in their side."
CYMS showed that talent last weekend as they upset the Hawks to beat them heading into week one of the finals, but McDonald said that loss had spurred her side on.
"After our loss last week we knew we were a better team then what we displayed," she said.
"Marty [Lyden, Hawks' coach] said if we believe in our skills and trust each other we'd have no trouble in getting the win."
The skills and trust were obviously back as the Hawks lead from go to woah, with Jes Pearson starring with a hat-trick for the two blues.
The under-18s gun jumped out of the blocks with a try in the first 90 seconds before adding a second just before the mid-way point of the first half.
CYMS fought back through Hannah Marsh before half-time to bring the margin back to 8-4, but Pearson struck again in the first 90 seconds of the second half before Em McDonald goaled to push their lead to 10 points.
Emily Goodwin snatched one back less than five minutes later, but Hawks shut down CYMS' pushes forward from there out, with the greens unable to add to their own tally for the last 35 minutes of the match.
Emily Irwin crossed the line to make a certainty of it with 20 minutes to go, and the final margin sat at 18-8 for the remainder of the clash.
McDonald said it was "unreal" having the under-18s in the side, with the half-a-dozen youngsters enjoying the week off due to their side's top-of-the-table finish.
"Jess uses her speed off kick returns ... our under 18's girls have really stepped up this year," McDonald said.
She said the win meant confidence was sky-high as tHawks set up a date with St Pat's next week for a grand final spot.
Meanwhile, CYMS will have to do it the hard way - taking on Blayney in Mudgee next week after the Bears toppled the Workies in Lithgow on Sunday.
- Hawks 18 (Jes Pearson 3 tries, Emily Irwin 1, Em McDonald 1 goal) def CYMS 8 (Emily Goodwin 1 goal, Hannah Marsh 1)
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