Alex Ronayne insists he has a lot of love for Dubbo CYMS but that doesn't mean he won't be giving his all to beat the Fishies in 2021.
The Macquarie captain-coach and former CYMS fan favourite will lead a new-look Raiders side next season as the club continues one of the biggest recruitment drives seen in the competition in some time.
Players like Jack Kavanagh, Oliver Gordon, Nick Harvey, Richard Peckham, and Clayton Couley have signed on as the Raiders attempt to build a squad capable of reaching a first Group 11 grand final since 2012.
Ronayne has hinted the signing spree hasn't stopped yet and while there's still deals to be done and pre-season is yet to truly kick into gear, the Western Rams back-rower can't help but look forward to the first Dubbo derby battle of 2021 against CYMS.
The two proud clubs are scheduled to meet on June 27 before playing again in what shapes as a massive contest in the final round of the regular season.
Ronayne's desire to do well in those games not only stems from the chance to get one over so many of his good mates, but also to give his new club's fans something to cheer given the Fishies have dominated matches between the two sides for the best part of a decade.
The Raiders haven't beaten CYMS in first grade, somewhat ironically, since 2012 and that win was recorded in the grand final.
Since then, the city has been dominated by green and white and while there was no senior derbies this year the 2019 matches resulted in convincing 56-18 and 40-24 wins for CYMS.
"When I was growing up as a kid the local derby was unreal and you wanted to play those games," Ronayne said.
"The last six or seven years it hasn't been a derby. It's just been one way for CYMS."
"But a few of the CYMS boys are here now ... it's going to be a blockbuster."
A number of ex-CYMS players will line up for Macquarie in 2021 but many of those - like Ronayne and Kavanagh - are Raiders juniors who are returning home.
It will be good for the clubs and good for the town.Alex Ronayne
One player mentioned when discussing the derby was Jordan Reynolds, a former CYMS player through and through who departed the green and white side of Dubbo for the blue side ahead of a 2020 season which was ultimately cancelled because of COVID-19.
Ronayne and Reynolds are likely to feature in the forward pack next year against a CYMS side which is also undergoing change.
The highly-regarded Shawn Townsend has taken over as first grade coach and it is an appointment which has created plenty of excitement within the club while a number of new faces have signed on.
Josh Toole's signing adds even more spice to the derby given he had originally come to Dubbo earlier this year to join the Raiders.
James Stanley has also linked with CYMS and provides plenty of firepower in matches regardless of the occasion.
"I can not wait to play that game," Ronayne added.
"It will be good for the clubs and good for the town.
"I have a lot of respect for CYMS and love CYMS but I can't wait to get out there and play against them."