They despised each other for years and regularly traded blows in fierce on-field battles.
But it wasn't until the Nowra Warriors and Bomaderry Swamp Rats almost faded into oblivion that survival became much more important than a trivial battle for supremacy in the Shoalhaven.
Long-held grudges were put aside and officials representing the struggling clubs sat down at the end of the 2007 Group Seven season to discuss a merger.
Similar proposals had been shot down by Nowra and Bomaderry officials in the past, but this time just about everyone supported amalgamation.
The merger was approved after further discussions and the Shoalhaven Jets were cleared for take-off.
The club has received solid backing from Shoalhaven businesses and will field sides in first and reserve grade, Regan Cup and under 18s in 2008.
Last week the Jets appointed former Berry and Nowra half-back Geoff Johnson as captain-coach and they are in negotiations with premiership-winning prop Bill Brown.
"Even the most diehard blokes who didn't want us to merge in the past, they're all right behind it," Jets vice-president and former Bomaderry president Peter Atfield said.
"It had gotten to the stage where everyone from both clubs realised it was the best way and probably the only way to go.
"We've got some good sponsorship coming in from businesses that used to sponsor Nowra or Bomaderry, so it's great to have them back on board.
"People are talking about it and excited about supporting the club and coming to games next season. We basically want to have a club full of locals, players that people know and want to come and watch play for the local team."
The Jets - who will wear a blue, gold and black jersey - are likely to feature most of last year's Nowra players, while management hopes to lure former Warriors and Swamp Rats back home.
Bomaderry hadn't played first grade for six years, but the Rats are strong at the under 16 and under 18 levels and plan on blooding players into grade.
"We've got a lot of good players coming through and we're hoping to retain them and build up our depth through the grades," Atfield said.
"We're looking to get players back in the Shoalhaven and a lot of them have indicated they're keen."
The Jets will hold a team get-together next month.