Macquarie may not be seeing much of injured captain-coach Wes Middleton on the field at the moment but there was no lack of guidance on the field during the Raiders' round six clash with the Parkes Spacemen at Apex Oval on Saturday.
It showed in the early going when the Raiders stood firm in the face of a slick Parkes offence, and ultimately it saw them score a much-needed 34-24 win.
Brody Chapman, back at the Raiders this season after being sidelined by injuries previously led from the front in the forwards while he also booted five from six conversions, earning high praise from Middleton in the process.
"He was outstanding tonight, the way he carried the ball and everything else, he's a real leader on the field, he was threatened with a serious injury that kept him out of the game, but he's all clear now," Middleton said.
"His aura on the field, how positive he is, even without me out there on the field, the more guys we have like that, the better we'll do."
While Macquarie won, Parkes started the better and it only took seven minutes for them to score through lightning fast winger Jacob Smede, who streaked across the try-line and put the first points on the board for the visitors.
Not to be outdone, the Raiders quickly got things moving in the opposite direction, using Filisione Pauta's power to open up a hole in the Parkes line three minutes later and allowing Boche Satrick to cross.
A successful conversion from Chapman and the Raiders started to put things together.
Even when Parkes' rallied to get Smede over the line in the same fashion five minutes after Satrick's try, the second time set-up beautifully by replacement fullback Benji Glasheen, ducking towards the centre and then sending a long pass out to the wing, the Raiders stayed calm and turned the pressure back against the Spacemen.
"Benji was really good for us," said Parkes Coach Brent Wood of the young gun that stepped up to replace the injured Sam Dwyer.
"Especially considering he'd already played a full game today (of juniors), I thought he did really well."
Despite Glasheen's flash of brilliance and a strong start for the Spacemen, a series of errors from the visitors allowed the Raiders into their territory more as the first half went on.
Prop Peter Miller pushed across and Chapman's conversion had the hosts up by four.
A Parkes kick out on the fool gave the Raiders another chance, and they took that as well as Sam Coe crossed.
Chapman's boot let him down for the only time during the game then but Macquarie still maintained its hold on the game.
Parkes went to the Glasheen-Smede combination again, but Macquarie saw it coming the third time and dragged Smede down just short of the try-line.
A forward pass cost the Spacemen a vital opportunity to score and Macquarie turned the chance into forward motion, getting Tremaine Francis across the line and drawing the score out to 20-8 in their favour with eight minutes to go before half-time.
Another conversion from Chapman and Macquarie drove their lead out to 22-8 at the break, keeping Parkes busy for the remaining time as Chapman and Francis kept driving the ball forward and making ground.
Parkes kept the game alive in the second half, using footwork and an over-extended Macquarie defence to get Joe Dwyer and Jake White across the line.
Young gun Glasheen converted both tries, narrowing the gap to 22-20 twelve minutes into the second half.
From there, Macquarie wrestled back control of the game, driving Parkes back under Chapman's guidance and getting Kane McDermott across the line with sixteen minutes to go and widening the scoreboards to an eight point gap again.
Just a few minutes later and Colt Ure forced his way across the try line, with Chapman sinking another conversion to make it 34-20.
Parkes put on a burst of energy in the game's dying moments, with Paul Kronenberg diving across the try-line but Glasheen unable to get anything more out of the effort, leaving the Raiders with a 10-point win.
"We just had no energy to start with, offensively," Wood said after the loss.
"They got the jump on us. It's an attitude thing we've got to change, get back to training and turn it all around."
Macquarie's Middleton was content with how his side was starting to come together, but said there was still plenty of challenge ahead.
"Today I thought we improved on our attack, our defence was good, we're working on both areas and we're slowly coming together," Middleton said.
"We're moving on into Nyngan next week which is another big test, but I'm sure the boys'll take a lot from this.
"A lot of the boys are stepping up, we're holding ourselves accountable, it's going to take time, but we're positive, our win tonight is for the club, we owe it to them."
- MACQUARIE RAIDERS 34 (Sam Coe, Tremaine Francis, Colt Ure, Kane McDermott, Eroni Turagatautoka, Boche Satrick tries; Brody Chapman 5 goals) defeated PARKES SPACEMEN (Jacob Smede 2, Paul Kronenberg, Joe Dwyer, Jake White tries; Benji Glasheen 2 tries)