Eleven months after their last game, the Bears' under-18 side emerged from the COVID fog and a bus and let rip: flogging Stockton 72-0 in their Newcastle competition debut.
For Norths co-coach Tom Learoyd-Lahrs - a man who has received great rewards for great effort - the match was a personal and a club triumph after a dogged pursuit.
The former Kangaroos, Blues and Raiders star spearheaded a mission to find the Bears a competition to play in after the Group 4 season was cancelled on June 12 due to the pandemic.
He was motivated by the knowledge that under-18 is a pivotal year in a footballer's development; the prospect that it could be lost to his chargers was anathema to him.
And the young men said thank you to him by playing with so much energy that Learoyd-Lahrs was still glowing on Sunday morning when relaying his players' exploits from the previous day.
"I reckon it was evident just how keen they were right from the word go," he said, adding that he didn't interact with the side during the warm-up because he was coaching the Farrer under-14 side at the time.
"But I saw them warming up behind me, I could hear them warming up behind me, and they were bouncing out of their skin to get out there and play footy, which was awesome."
That explosion of vim was, he said, "justification" for the effort exerted to get them a match.
It's really good when a plan comes together like that.Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
"It's really good when a plan comes together like that," he said, adding: "Sometimes the tendency early on in the season is to be a little bit too conservative and not play footy.
"But I reckon they played a better brand of footy than what they played at the end of last year." (Learoyd-Lahrs coached the Bears to the 2019 under-18 premiership.)
He expects his side will face a tougher examination against Denman this weekend.
Lock Kobe Bone and five-eighth Zac Coleman were the Bears' best, Learoyd-Lahrs said.
Meanwhile, Farrer's under-14 side rebounded from a first-up loss to defeat 50-6 of Stockton.