Four months ago, a quartet of Mudgee Touch representatives had received the news that their dreams of representing Australia at the Touch World Cup would become a reality.
Early this month that very dream came true as Eliza Baddock, Justin Gossage, Roy Prasad and Ben Harris braved the Malaysian humidity to bring some Central West talent to the six day tournament that is host to the best touch football players from around the globe.
Gossage and Prasad played in the mixed 30s Australian side who managed to go all the way to claim gold in a 6-3 victory over the Cook Islands.
"A week I won't forget," Prasad said in a Facebook post.
"World Champions!!! As a crew we worked so hard to get things right during camps and in tournament, and we did it! Thank you to all the family and friends that made the journey with us, and the support shown. It was lovely to have you there during all our games."
As for Baddock, who was a part of the Australian women's 27 side, it wasn't quite the same result as the Aussies went down in the final in an incredibly close match against New Zealand, 5-4, but says the experience was "the biggest honour in my touch career".
"Receiving my first Australian Jersey was the biggest honour in my touch career and my life. To know that I was playing alongside some touch players I have idolised was something I will never forget," she said.
Singing the National Anthem in the World Cup final was such an emotional feeling and made me realise the enormity of my achievements and that all the hard work and training leading up to the World Cup was worth it.Eliza Baddock
"I am so grateful for the support of family, friends, the Mudgee and Griffith touch communities, without this, my dream would not have become a reality."
One of the most challenging parts of the tournament for Harris who refereed 14 games over the course of the event, was having to deal with extremely humid conditions which hit above 50 degrees on multiple occasions.
The conditions were that intense it led four referees to be hospitalised with others required medical assistance for either fainting or being disillusioned.
"I've never ever refereed or even played any type of sport in heat like that. Unbearable doesn't give what we experienced justice," he said.
"I had to come in every single time after my games and immediately change and just drape wet towels all over me just to try and get my heart rate down and cool my body as quickly as possible.
During one of the games I lost about 1.5kgs then I basically drank three litres of water in 20 minutes right after the game.Ben Harris
Although some teams were relatively new to the touch scene such as China, Malaysia, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, Harris says these were the types of games that were more exciting to watch.
"Even though they've played touch for a while at these places, those games were more competitive," he said.
"To ref those games and to see the quality of touch from other countries was fantastic, it was great to see."
Harris set the goal to make it to the international stage for refereeing many years ago, and says the feeling of knowing he had made it was "something I will never forget".
To blow that whistle in your first international game was like 'I'm finally here, I've done it'.Ben Harris
"To experience a Touch World Cup is something I will never forget.
"In the end it was very rewarding knowing that you're representing your country in your sport's pinnacle event."