North Wagga forward Corey Watt admits he was nervous about playing with a strapped and recently strained hamstring in last week's preliminary final against Marrar.
But it was overshadowed by a greater worry of not doing all he could to get his club back to a grand final.
"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if we lost to them again so I just had to try to do everything I could to play," Watt said.
"It was good to get the win over them, anyway.
"I was nervous. I wasn't 100 percent sure, and I could feel it the whole game but it was a lot lower than the other hamstring injury I had, which was up higher."
Watt didn't train last week but once he knew it was a strain, not a tear, requested a Friday night fitness test and forced his way in.
He started on the bench but was on after five minutes and played his part, including kicking a goal in the win that earned them another shot at a grand final, against East Wagga-Kooringal on Saturday.
"I'm pretty confident (in the hamstring) this week. Especially on Monday, it wasn't as sore as last week. If I do everything right, I'm sure I'll get through," he said.
"I definitely wouldn't miss this week. I would've done anything possible. I am glad that I did play last week, so I do know that I can get through the game."
Watt's 25 now. As old as the club's most recent premiership memories.
He says a sense of urgency will also inspire the current crop of Saints who don't want to waste a chance to write their own history.
"For our group, we've talked about it all week, that next year we may not all be around so it's kind of now or never for us as a group," Watt said.
"Next year is definitely going to be totally different again. I'm sticking around again but there's talk of a few younger blokes going away."
Watt, who played his 100th senior game last season, is one of a host of players who have emerged together in the past few years.
Only Troy Curtis, approaching 145, has played more senior games for North Wagga since the club almost folded a decade ago.
But backmen Brayden Skeers, Sam Longmore, Matt Thomas and Ben Alexander have all come into triple figures in the past year, as well as star midfielder Jake May.
"That's probably the best feeling about it too, we're all close-knit and coming up through the 17s, having those blokes stick around," Watt said.
"I only come into 17s just after the club came out of recess, when first grade were getting flogged. To see where the club's come to now is really exciting."
Last year, they made their first grand final since 2004. But the joy of making a premiership decider subsides pretty quickly if you don't win it.
"It's definitely a good week. Hopefully we can get over the line and not go through what we went through last year," Watt said of the two-goal loss to Marrar.
"It's a pretty crap feeling when you come out second best. It's probably made us a bit more hungry for this year, anyway.
"That was the first time I've made a first grade one and I didn't really know what to expect. I'm probably a bit more comfortable this year, knowing what it's all about, how to go about it, what not to do this time around."
North Wagga lost star forward Daniel Jordan, gun midfielder Lachie Highfield and inspirational captain Ned Mortimer in the off-season
Forward Nathan Dennis and recruit Dayne Hancock were full-season casualties early this year.
But Watt believes Saints have come a long way.
"Both years we've had a good bunch of blokes. Last year we had DJ and Lachie, and Ned down back, obviously a few guns, and we lost them," he said.
"I think this year we play a bit more as a team.
"We don't have those star footballers which makes us all have to dig in a bit more. We're consistent and that's what you want in a footy team."
Watt believes the Saints and Hawks are closely matched this year. EWK won the first meeting with a goal after the siren; North Wagga won by 13 points at Gumly, and the Hawks hit back with a 15-point win in the second semi-final.
He believes "whoever shows up to play" will take the ultimate prize.
The 25-year-old won a Gerald Clear Medal in 2015 but accepted the award with a knee brace on and missed the preliminary final loss to EWK that year.
In the seasons that followed, injuries have cropped up and impacted his influence, while work has also had to take priority.
But Watt said seeing midfielders like Jake May and now Cayden Winter come on, and Tom Bennetts' arrival, has eased the pressure and allowed him to play his own role.
"The last three years I've been a bit injury prone and missed a few games because of injuries. Anyway, that's footy," he said.
"Obviously Cayden Winter is starting to play really good footy this year, even better than last year, which makes it easier for the midfield.
"Once they stood up, it's taken a lot of pressure off me. I've been pushed down forward which is good. Since I've started my own business, footy's had to go to the back a little bit.
"But it's still important, and to come round now to grand final time, it's very exciting."