Dubbo CYMS coach Jarryn Powyer is relying on enthusiasm from his players heading into this weekend’s NSW Challenge Cup clash with Cowra.
The 2019 season begins early for the Fishies and the mid-February clash will be Powyer’s first as captain-coach after he took over from long-serving mentor Tim Ryan.
CYMS won the Challenge Cup last season in what was a massive achievement for bush footy, but Powyer said the glittering play produced in the decider win over Guildford needs to be forgotten before the weekend.
“I’ve got no expectations as far as the game is concerned,” Powyer said.
“We’re out to win and we want to win every game we play but I’ve got zero expectations and we’re not comparing anything to last year.
“We’re starting from scratch.”
Saturday’s opponents is Group 10 runners-up Cowra Magpies.
The Magpies were promoted to take part in the competition after the western region’s two premiers, the Forbes Magpies and Bathurst Panthers, both opted against taking part in the statewide knockout.
The clash at Sid Kallas Oval is one of eight contested this weekend in the competition designed to find the best club in the state.
“They (Cowra) have got quite a new-look side. I know Warren (Williams) will be back and they’ve got a couple of Gordon boys so we’re expecting a fair game, for sure,” Powyer stated.
“But you can’t really develop a gameplan. You’ve just got to be more enthusiastic and that’s what I’ll be relying on.
“It’s almost more like knockout footy where you just play what’s in front of you and there isn’t as much structure.”
CYMS will be missing a number of players for the game, with Wade Kavanagh and new recruit John Ciappara both away on Western Rams under 23s representative duty.
Nick Harvey and Bayden Searle have also departed the club during the off-season, the former returning to Mudgee while the latter is chasing his NRL dream in Newcastle.
Lincoln Kavanagh’s suspension stemming from last season’s grand final loss to Forbes means he also misses out while others are unavailable for various other reasons.
“It’s not easy this time of year. Not everyone is prepared,” Powyer added.
The squad may not be at full strength but barnstorming front-rower Powyer has still been delighted by what he’s seen from the Fishies in pre-season.
Fitness has been the focus up to this point but more than 30 players have been turning out regularly at training with a number of those being reserve graders, much to Powyer’s delight.
Two of the players which have impressed the new coach the most early on are new recruits Ciappara and Jayden Merritt.
The pair have made the switch from crosstown rivals Macquarie, the latter returning after playing juniors with CYMS.
“I’d love to give a mention to those two,” Powyer said.
“They’re really taken to the culture well and they’re all about winning.”
The pair are the only major recruits, according to Powyer, and the coach laughed when shooting down the rumoured signing of former NSW Blues player Tony ‘T-Rex’ Williams.
He preferred top focus on what he does have, praising experienced Fishies first graders Luke Jenkins, Alex Ronayne, and Jyie Chapman and saying they will provide him with a huge amount of support in 2019.
Saturday’s match at Cowra kicks off at 6pm.