Parkes gun Sam Dwyer has played plenty of representative football in both the black and red of Group 11 and the green and white of Western.
But ahead of Saturday’s Rams trial clash against Group 10 at Jock Colley Field, the 23-year-old isn’t taking any of that granted.
“You can’t really. You’ve got to go into these games looking to put your best foot forward and play the best footy you can,” Dwyer said.
“I know a lot of the guys in the Group 10 team, a lot of them were involved in the pre-season training stuff with Western as well and they’ll be tough to beat.
“No one’s spot is guaranteed so you’ve got to go out there with a point to prove.”
That last statement would be music to the ears of Western coach Darren Jackson.
Country Rugby League chopped the age restriction on its open representative football program to under 23s over the off-season, meaning the likes of Dwyer and Forbes backrower Ben Maguire went from rookie rep guns to season veterans in the blink of an eye.
The slashing of the region’s player pool makes Jackson’s job to return the Rams to the top of country footy infinitely tougher.
But, if Dwyer’s comments are anything to go by, the desire of the young players in Western is a positive sign.
As a result of the change, too, this will be Dwyer’s last year of representative footy and the classy custodian says it’s been a different lead-up to the annual Western clash.
“Usually I’ve been picked in these teams and you look forward to going to training and learning stuff off the senior guys. I’m one of those players now with the changes,” he added.
No one’s spot is guaranteed so you’ve got to go out there with a point to prove.
“All of the CYMS boys have been great though. They’re great fellas and have some great coaches there too, and guys like Chad and Fletcher, I'm looking forward to seeing them play.”
Chad Porter has returned to Parkes after playing in Sydney while Fletcher Strong moves to the Spacemen having played with Armidale in 2016.
The Parkes trio will play pivotal roles as Col Wright’s Group 11 outfit looks to run its Group 10 opposition off its feet on Saturday and win its third straight divisional trial.
“That’s probably right. We’ve got plenty of speed so we’ll be looking to use that to our advantage,” Dwyer said.
“We’re not going to get caught up in the bash and crash stuff.”
Enthused about the opportunity to work with some of the best young talent in the region, Group 10 coach Graeme Osborne said Saturday’s match is shaping up as an entertaining affair.
“Group 10 is in a very strong position in that regard, most of these guys have been playing [premier league] since they finished up in [under 18s] and have been playing good football too,” he said.
“It’s not going to be an easy job cutting the squad down (from 22) to 18 but we have to do it obviously, I’m confident it’s going to be a side which can head over and beat Group 11.”
Kick-off for the main game is 2.50pm.