Tim Beach is heading into this weekend's NSW Country Rugby Union Championships at the peak of his powers.
The Dubbo Kangaroos winger has never played better than he has this season and as a result, he's set to play a key role in Central West's bid for the Caldwell Cup at Tamworth.
Beach has regularly been referred to as the Roos' most consistent player this season by teammates and coaches alike, but the string of notable performances and a first senior representative call-up is no coincidence.
Few players in the Blue Bulls region have put in as much as work as Beach has, with plenty of early morning gym sessions and changes in diet making all the difference.
"I think at the moment I'm playing the best footy I've played in my life," he said.
"I've played right through as well and played some second grade at Manly when I was at uni and played at boarding school but I think I've only really developed as a player in the last three years and I'm peaking now.
"I'm fitter and stronger than I've been ... it's just putting in those little extras that no-one sees."
After a stint in Sydney for university, Beach has been back in his home region for close to two years and is now in his second season with the Roos.
A Central West jersey has been a goal for the hard-running winger, but when he didn't make the squad for the pre-season tour of New Zealand he thought the ship might have sailed for 2019.
"But (coach) Dean Oxley rang me only three or four weeks ago and said he'd noticed I'd been playing well and if I'd like to go to a training session," Beach said.
"When you set a goal and take these small steps and the work pays off it feels like a real achievement.
"If you play a couple of good games at country week then you're in contention for NSW Country and that's been an ultimate goal of mine."
Not many wingers playing at Tamworth will take the ball back as fast and as hard as Beach, and if Central West does make a charge towards the Caldwell Cup then there's every chance he'll catch the selectors' eye.
"It's probably the strength of my game," Beach said of his ball-running.
"I love running the ball and sometimes I don't even step because you get so much satisfaction from running over someone.
"It's probably my best attribute. I like to throw my body into it."
Oxley has told Beach he wants his wingers heavily involved this weekend, with Beach joining Bathurst's Joe Nash and Harden fullback Ben Lenehan in the backline.
That's welcome news for the Roos standout, who has seen plenty of ball early on in the Blowes Clothing Cup while chipping in with a number of important tries.
The squad has only had a handful of training sessions together in the lead-up to this weekend but they have made an impact on Beach, with the lack of errors and quality of the squad a real standout.
"I think we've definitely got a team that can compete for the Caldwell Cup," Beach added.
"We've got a real shot at winning it."
Beach is joined in the Central West squad by three of his Kangaroos teammates.
Mark Baldwin captains the side at flanker while Shaun McHugh will pack down in the second row.
The versatile Luke Ryan was a late call-up to the squad and will form part of the bench.
The Blue Bulls face Mid North Coast from 12.50pm on Saturday afternoon at Tamworth's Scully Park, before reigning champions Illawarra take on last year's promoted Richardson Shield winners Central Coast from 3.50pm.
The two winners meet in Sunday's final.
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