There were a number of aspects about Werris Creek's 40-32 home defeat of Narrabri on Saturday that screamed assuredness - including the spark Callum Hayne provided from dummy half and back-rower Cody Tickle's damaging right-edge play.
But perhaps the most eye-catching of that assuredness, in what was a lively, entertaining match, occurred in the blink of an eye - when halfback Scott Berry went himself about 15 metres out from Narrabri's tryline and combined characteristic pace off the mark with uncharacteristic power to barge over under the posts in the first half.
"Where did that come from?" a teammate noted.
Noticeably bulked up from last season, Berry's self-confidence in backing himself is the type of character the Magpies will need this season if they are to seriously challenge the top sides. He scored two tries on the day.
Co-captain Tickle had urged Berry to have the confidence to back himself. "I told him during the week to just run the ball - he's too worried about doing everything else. I just told him to run the ball: you're more dangerous there.
"Just give him a little bit of confidence to take the line on and I reckon he's fantastic."
The signs were promising for Werris Creek against a strong Narrabri side, with both outfits sharp in attack from the first minute to the last minute.
It was a fast-placed, free-flowing match that had multiple twists and turns. Mostly notably when Narrabri scored two quick tries, midway through the second half, via hooker Josh Trindall and halfback Justin Knight to hand them a 32-28 lead.
There were several matches last season where the Magpies blew good opportunities to win games, especially early in their campaign. But this time they would not be denied: Knights' close-range corner try countered by late tries to Tickle, his second, and centre Kieran Williams.
Williams was put over in the corner by No.6 Harlee Millgate, who provided the final pass out the back of his hand close to the Blues' tryline. Tickle converted to make it 40-32 and give the Magpies their first win of the season, after Norths beat them 54-22 in round one.
Narrabri suffered their first loss of the season, having beaten Boggabri 54-28 in round one.
Werris Creek led Narrabri 22-16 at halftime.
Tickle, co-captain with prop Tom Brown, was pleased with the Magpies' performance but said "we lacked in stages of the game where we could be better". The side's edge defence was one area that needed improvement, he said, adding that a "few tweaks and we should be right".
"Our goal is not to be up the top at the start; it's more to be there at the end and give it a red-hot crack at the end," he said.
Hayne, who joined the Magpies from Gunnedah this season, was named the side's players' player. Tickle said the No.9 "was insane ... he killed it through the middle today".
"Just with that core nucleus of the side we've had for the last couple of years, we're building on it and it's great to see," he said.
Other highlights included Blues No.6 Lachie Cameron's long-range solo try and Cochrane beating three defenders to score early in the second half.
Werris Creek 40 (Cody Tickle 2, Scott Berry 2, Zac Leonard, Isaah Millgate, Kieran Williams tries; Tickle 6 goals)
Narrabri 32 (Raymond Goodwin, Lachie Cameron, Adam Suckling, Brenton Cochrane, Josh Trindall, Justin Knight tries; Trindall 4 goals)