IT was a tough initiation but Helensburgh halfback Rachael Pearson says her side know they belong in the NSW Women's premiership after notching an impressive first victory on Monday.
The Burgh saw off Wests Tigers 30-20 at Campbelltown Stadium, with Jillaroos star Jess Sergis posting four tries. Pearson kicked a perfect five goals from five attempts in the victory that admittedly left the group "buzzing."
"Jess Sergis is obviously a handy player to have but we all have jobs and roles to play out there and a game plan we had to stick to," Pearson said.
"Everyone really got on the front foot and played their role. It was a tough grind but we got out there and really showcased why we wanted to be in this competition.
"It's definitely been a step up but we really showed that we're here and we're prepared to match it with the best in the women's competition."
It was a strong bounce back from a 46-10 loss to Mounties in their first outing a week earlier, though they went in short of a gallop having endured a round-one bye and week-two washout.
It left them almost five weeks without a game, but Pearson said it was a solid building block en route to their first win of the season. It leaves them high on confidence heading into Monday's showdown with South Sydney at Homebush.
"Our first game just felt like a long time coming with the first round bye and then the washout," Pearson said.
"It was great to finally get out there. It obviously wasn't the game we thought we could play, we made a fair few mistakes, but you've just got to look at the negatives and take the positives out of that game.
"We got stuck into training that week, worked on a few things and we prepared a new game plan to take on Wests Tigers. Everyone stuck to it and did their job. We can only go forward as a team and we'll take a lot of confidence out of that win.
"That game's done now and we're focusing on the Rabbitohs. It's a new side to come up against but Powelly [coach Ryan Powell] will have a look at them and put a game plan in place. It's just up to us to execute it."
Pearson skippered the Burgh to an Illawarra League premiership last season, breaking arch-rivals Corrimal's three-year stranglehold on the crown.
There's irony in the fact that plenty of those former rivals have come across for the push into the state's elite competition, and Pearson feels it's a team to represent the entire Illawarra region.
"Individually and a group we just wanted more," she said.
"We had girls in our Helensburgh team but also girls from Corrimal and some girls from down south who really want to challenge themselves a bit more. The way to do that was to go into that Sydney competition.
"We're very proud to be wearing a Helensburgh uniform and proud to represent that area, but we're also representing Illawarra and showcasing the talent we have down south up in that Sydney comp."