Cowra Magpies full-back Jeremy Gordon says he's thrilled to be back and playing after an injury-delayed start to the year, adding that every game is a virtual finals game for his side as they take on Bathurst St Pat's this weekend.
"It's been a long three to four months... it's probably been one of my biggest injuries," Gordon said of his shoulder injury, adding that while it wasn't pretty game the result against Blayney was crucial for keeping the team's top five hopes alive.
"We'll take any win... doesn't matter how you win it," the former Group 10 player of the year said.
"Every game is pretty much a semi-final... we've gotta win every game."
While the performance was patchy, Gordon insists that there are plenty of positives to come out of the game, with Magpies' starting roster starting to look more like the vaunted outfit many punters were expecting at the start of the season.
"We're slowly starting to get our actual team," Gordon said, noting that once things like handling errors and penalties are removed from the game, the Magpies will improve rapidly.
"[Once we address that it] will just start clicking for everything else that comes in a footy match... One percenters win you games."
St Pat's has had a similarly tough middle period of the season and top five aspirations as the Magpies, but are filled with dangerous players according to Gordon, who reserved his biggest praise for forward Zac Merritt.
Every game is pretty much a semi-final... we've gotta win every gameMagpies full-back Jeremy Gordon makes it clear that every week is a virtual knockout for Cowra as it looks to keep its season alive.
"He's one of the best forwards in the whole group, let alone the western region... I'd take him in any team.
"They've got class... injuries and other stuff has harshened their season [and] they've got nothing to lose... just like us."
While Gordon is excited about some of the names in the Magpies' ranks this year, including Brydon Ramien - "He's going real well," - there is one new addition to the team that Gordon believes he can combine with to the Magpies' benefit over season's final weeks, cousin Claude Gordon.
"[I've] probably played some my best footy alongside him," the former Bathurst Panther noted.
"I'm always excited to play with Claude."
He also believed that should the team get into the top five for finals, history shows they could do more just make up the numbers.
"Panthers came from fourth [in 2018]... Mudgee came from fifth [in 2016]," he said of the previous Group 10 premiership winners.
"It's a whole new competition once you get in as a top five team in the play offs."