Tamworth's best oztaggers have shown they can match it with the best in the country.
Suiting up for the Northern Rangers at the weekend's Senior Australian Championships at Coffs Harbour, a strong Tamworth contingent helped the Rangers make their mark in their first senior nationals foray.
Six of the 10 Rangers' teams made it through to Sunday's finals with the open mixed side going through to play for the title.
They just fell short, going down to the Dolphins 7-4 in their grand final after staging a remarkable fightback in their semi-final against the Wests Tigers. Down 6-nil they won in extra-time 14-12.
The side was predominantly Newcastle and Maitland-based but did include former Tamworth local Brodii Ingram, who was a standout over the three days, Rangers committee member Pam Potts said.
The 45s men, open mens, seniors women, masters women and mixed 20s also qualified for the finals.
The 45s men made it through to the semi-finals where they were beaten by only a try, while the open men, seniors women, masters women and mixed 20s all reached the final eight and were similarly knocked out by only a try or two.
"The teams that got through to the Sunday it could have been anyone's game," Potts said.
The decision to form the Rangers and bring together Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Port Stephens and Maitland under the one umbrella, was designed to provide a bigger pool of players to select from and produce more competitive sides.
On the weekend's results it's had the desired effect.
"When you look at the outcome of the overall results it's been an amazing effort," Potts said.
"Going forward from here it's certainly promising."
It wasn't without it's challenges though.
Logistically it was "very difficult" to get together for training and consequently most of the sides were only able to have two or three training runs together leading in.
"It made it more challenging," Potts said.
By the same token it made their performance with limited time together all the more satisfying, and Potts praised the way everyone pulled together to make it work.
The results for the senior Rangers follows on from a strong showing from the Ranger's juniors two weeks ago.
They also experienced some challenges with the tyranny of distance, and it will be something that will be discussed when they attend the AGM in Sydney.
Intended to be trialed for "two or three years", Potts said they will be gathering feedback from the players and coaches, and others involved, to take to the state meeting and then go from there.
For the Tamworth contingent, which comprised about a third of the Rangers sides, their attention now turns to next year's State Cup.
After a well-earned short break, Potts said they are looking to start trialing for the Taipans sides in the next few weeks.
"We're looking at doing three trials," she said.