Nearing full time in Tamworth's 43-28 defeat of Armidale at Rugby Park on Saturday, an unidentified Magpie screamed: "That's how you win grand finals." Or words to that effect.
If Tamworth's dream season is to turn into a fairy tale and they win the premiership, Saturday's performance would have been key in helping prepare them for it.
As has been the case on a number of occasions this year, the Magpies dug deep to win - after the Blues, who have now had three cracking clashes against Tamworth this season, refused to go quietly into the night back to Armidale.
On Tamworth's Old Boys Day, the two sides traded blows. But the Blues were unable to get their nose in front, after cutting Tamworth's lead to three points (31-28) midway through the second half when winger Kyson Henry streaked down the right-hand touchline and then cut back infield, got around Tamworth fullback Harry Snook and scored under the posts.
But the Magpies, who now have two wins over Armidale this season, replied with two late tries to winger Clint Coles. The bonus-point victory was their ninth win of the season against two losses.
Tamworth went into the match in second place on the ladder, six points behind reigning premiers Robb College, who had the bye this round. They remain there heading into next weekend's final round before the finals, although Robb's lead has been cut to a point.
Tamworth host third-placed St Albert's College next Saturday, while Robb host the Blues.
Snook - fresh from representing Combined States at the Australian Schools Championships in Sydney - also scored two tries.
Tamworth led 17-14 at halftime.
Magpies skipper James Bracken said: "We knew the Blues would come out hard: they're fighting for a home semi-final as well. We just need to build on that [win] going into the finals. We can't be complacent now."
The No.7 said it was one of Tamworth's gutsiest displays of the season.
The side was "on the back foot" in the second half, he said, but found the energy "to stick in there and then grind it out towards the end".
That resolve was what pleased him most about the side's performance.
While Tamworth have won close contests this season, including a late-try win over the Blues in their first encounter, Robb scored late in the match to edged them at Rugby Park last month.
When Coles dived across the line out wide in 74th minute, after Snook fired him the final pass, Tamworth signalled that they were not going to let this one slip.
They put the exclamation mark on the win when Coles scored from close range again, in the 79th minute, and Snook converted from the left-hand touchline.
The match was attended by members of the Magpies' 1994 premiership-winning side. The club won the 1996 premiership as well, but have not won another title since then. Both wins were achieved when the club was in the Central North competition.
After a tough debut New England rugby season last year, it would be an exaggeration to say that this Magpies outfit has a sense of destiny about them - but their campaign has been fun to watch.
Tamworth 43 (H. Snook 2, L. Ennis, A. Newmarch, C. Coles, I. Woodbury tries; Snook 2 con, 3 pen) d Armidale 28 (S.Lomax, K. Henry, N. Tiko, J. Dunn tries; L. Pollard 4 con)