He achieved a career milestone on Saturday night and now the eyes of Alex Ronayne and his Western Rams are firmly on the French national side.
Ronayne captained the Rams and scored his side's first try in a hugely promising 18-6 win over Riverina at West Wyalong on Saturday night.
That match was Western's lone hit-out before next Wednesday's clash with France at Parkes' Jock Colley Field.
"Looking at next week we didn't really know where we were at but if we can play similar to that I think we'll go a long way in the game," Ronayne said.
The Tim Ryan-coached Rams only had one training together before the weekend but you wouldn't have known it as they produced a clinical showing against a physically imposing Riverina side.
The sides were locked at 6-all at half-time but the Rams, led by a stellar showing from leading Group 11 halves Chad Porter and Josh Merritt, scored further tries through Ryan Griffin and Casey Burgess to secure victory.
"They were unreal," Ronayne said of his halves.
"Josh's kicking game was the difference and Chad was great in defence. They were great and I couldn't fault them."
The Rams skipper also had praise for "outstanding" Orange Hawks prop Ethan McKellar, Orange CYMS hooker Griffin, and hard-working Wellington Cowboys winger Aidan Ryan.
"But we all played well," Ronayne added.
"We played good footy and there was only about two dropped balls so it was a good feeling.
"They [Riverina] were big but with CYMS and a few other teams we were more mobile and we just wanted it more, I thought."
The match was also Ronayne's first as Western captain.
It continued a massive few weeks for the tireless back-rower after he also made the high-profile switch from Dubbo CYMS to Macquarie to take on the captain-coach's role.
It's a milestone I'll remember.Alex Ronayne on captaining Western
"It was very special," he said.
"I've played under Timmy [Ryan] before and captained for him but didn't expect it considering the quality players in Western.
"To do it against Riverina was unreal and it's a milestone I'll remember."
The Rams will come together again to train on Sunday before meeting in Parkes next Wednesday morning in the lead-up to the France game.
There is a chance of changes being made to the Rams side with former NRL players Justin Carney and Josh Starling both unavailable for the weekend's win over Riverina.
Both could be named for the game against a France side which recently played in the World Cup 9s and takes on the Junior Kangaroos on Friday.
"It's very exciting," Ronayne said of the chance to play a national team.
"It's a massive honour and the kind of thing you dream about, really.
"We're really keen to get out there."
It hasn't been all smooth sailing for France since landing in Australia as they won just one match at the World Cup and then their captain Jason Baitieri pulled out of the squad due to what he called "a lack of professionalism".
Western takes on France from 7pm next Wednesday at Parkes.
- WESTERN RAMS 18 (Alex Ronayne, Ryan Griffin, Casey Burgess tries; Chad Porter 3 conversions) def Riverina Bulls 6 (Lou Goodwin try, Cameron Breust goal).
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