It was a day when it didn't matter who the opposition was, the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs were always going to win.
All the ingredients were there, from the moment the Bulldogs ran out onto the ground through a guard of honour of the club’s life members, that they would win their fourth game in a row and claim a spot in the semi-finals..
A huge contingent of Kurri Kurri Old Boys, a threatening sky and later rain to dull the Pickers attacking class and a team united to prove all the doubters wrong just added to the sense of occasion.
It was further magnified when news arrived across the ground that Western Suburbs had been awarded the points against Macquarie when their game was called off due to lighting.
The Bulldogs needed to win to play in the semis, but they were made to work for it by a Pickers team which will lose no fans going into the finals themselves.
The two teams meet again next week, this time at the Maitland Sportsground after Central Newcastle jumped to second with a 36-16 win against Cessnock Goannas.
The result means the Pickers finished fourth and the Bulldogs fifth, a disappointing end for Maitland who could have ended minor premiers with a win.
Lakes United took the minor premiership out with a 36-20 win against South Newcastle. Souths will play Central in the qualifying semi-final, while the Pickers and Bulldogs face elimination footy from now on if they are to win the title.
Former Pickers and Wests premiership half Jade Porter described Saturday’s win as a great reward for a team which never stopped fighting for each other.
“We don’t have a superstar team but we just want everyone to buy into what’s going on and I think we’ve done that all year,” Porter said.
“A couple of games along the way we’ve probably got dusted up but we’ve just hung in there and stuck to it as a group, kept turning up and being positive and look where we are, we’re playing semi-final footy.
“A lot of people wrote us off, no one gave us a hope that’s what probably made us hungrier to finish in the top five.
“As a playing group we just believe in each other and knew we could get the job done.”