Forbes' loss is the Shute Shield's gain.
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Mahe Fangupo, one of the elite players in country rugby, won't feature in the Blowes Clothing Cup this year after agreeing to join the Newcastle Wildfires in the Sydney Shute Shield.
The Wildfires are returning to the premier competition this year and coach Scott Coleman is excited to have the former Forbes Platypi scrumhalf locked in.
"He is a gun," Coleman said.
"He came out to play for Randwick a few years ago and ended up out in Parkes through another Tongan.
"I have been trying to get him across here for a couple of years.
"He played for the Newcastle invitational side against the Western Force in February and was one of our better players.
"He has a good job in Forbes and a girlfriend, but he is keen to come and have a crack at Shute Shield for the 16 weeks."
Fangupo has played four Tests for Tonga, the last in 2010, and was previously with Randwick before heading to Parkes in 2011 and on to Forbes - leading both clubs to Central West premierships.
The 31-year-old has also played fly-half for Tonga A, but is most dangerous with the No.9 on his back.
While the move to Newcastle is huge for Fangupo, it is a blow to this region.
One of the smartest operators in the region, Fangupo was a huge part of Forbes' run to the 2017 premiership while has been one of the Central West Blue Bulls' best for a number of years.
Forbes Rugby Club has wished Fangupo all the very best in his Shute Shield adventures.
"We are so very proud of your achievements and look forward to watching you light the grounds on fire in Newcastle," the club said in a Facebook post.
Forbes starts its cup campaign on July 18 against Orange Emus.
The five clubs will contest just the nine rounds, meaning Orange Emus miss out on a bye while Forbes and Bathurst Bulldogs won't play host to the Dubbo Kangaroos and Orange City respectively.
Central West Rugby Union chief executive Matt Tink said many clubs made a sacrifices, Emus' willingness to miss a bye was one example of clubs working with the board to ensure play goes ahead.
"It won't be perfect but this is better than no rugby at all," he said.
The Blowes Clothing Cup's five sides will play for a top four spot before semi-finals on the weekend of September 19.
The grand finals will be played on September 26.
Cowra announced earlier it would not be taking part in the Blowes Clothing Cup this season.
We're still waiting on confirmation of a women's rugby draw for the shortened season.
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