Parkes and Forbes fought out a trial draw, Cole earns Spacemen life membership

HONOURED: Warwick Wheeldon, Mick Bonham, Graham Cole, Jamie Pope, Graham Thomson, Micheal Greenwood. Photo: PARKES SPACEMEN
HONOURED: Warwick Wheeldon, Mick Bonham, Graham Cole, Jamie Pope, Graham Thomson, Micheal Greenwood. Photo: PARKES SPACEMEN

The Spacemen contested their first trial matches across four grades against southern neighbours Forbes on the weekend, in what turned out to be a massive day for rugby league in Parkes.

Off the back of news three young Spacemen - Kyle Mahwinney, Finnley Neilsen and Ben Lovett - were selected in the junior NSW Country sides to tour England later this year, Parkes faced two of the four premiers from last season's Group 11 competition and it was the red, white and blues' own premiership winning side that got the day off to a bright start.

An understrength Parkes side, minus a bench for half of the match, easily accounted for Forbes while the Magpies' junior champion side from 2018 showed they will be title favourites in the new year as well after flexing their muscles early against the young Spacemen.

Both sides were minus a number of representative stars but the young Magpies showed great structure and composure against a Parkes side that will strengthen as each week progresses under the guidance of the returning Sam Dwyer.

LISTEN: Hear from Spacies Chad Porter, Joey Dwyer and coach Brent Wood ahead of the 2019 Group 11 season:

The reserve grade clash had not reached 10 minutes of the new digital scoreboard at Spooner Oval when a sickening head clash between Forbes teammates required urgent medical assistance.

Both clubs' players and officials are to be highly praised on their professional and exceptional assistance to the Magpie player, who from all reports is on the mend. Consequently, the pre-season match was called off.

The final clash pitted old foes with new line ups, although there was still very much a local flavour to both sides.

Forbes drew first blood in their first major attacking raid, however a smile the size of a split watermelon soon appeared on Spacies faces after a Joe Dwyer break led to a try to returning star, older brother Sam - it was a sight missed far too often for Parkes last year.

The game then maintained short periods of momentum shifts with Jake Porter scoring under the posts to claim the ascendancy for Parkes only to have it wrestled back by Forbes stars Mitch Burke, Hayden Bolam and Ben Maguire, who put in a colossus yet customary performance.

Both sides rotated players from the two senior grades in what remained a see-sawing tussle.

James Goonrey was rewarded for a massive game with a try while Epi Sodrodro put in a performance reminiscent of his tremendous 2013 campaign with the club.

With just minutes remaining, Forbes seemed to put the final nail in the coffin only to watch Brandon Paige streak 70 metres downfield from an intercept to put Parkes up by two.

A penalty goal after the siren from sharp shooter Bailey Hartwig brought about a drawn result, indicative of the ebbs and flows of the contest.

Parkes retreated to the Coachman Hotel for their season launch that evening, where Graham Cole became the 10th life member of the club.

A great contributor to the club, Cole held a number of position prior to taking the reins in one of the club's toughest periods in 2007.

Quickly, Cole re-established the club, particularly on the field where the first grade side has not missed the finals since Cole's invaluable stint as leader.

Parkes now heads to Scone this weekend to take on the Group 21 reigning premiers in their final trial ahead of their round one clash in Dubbo versus Westside.