Jeremy Smith is well aware of what it's like to play at Nyngan as a visiting opposition player and it makes him all the more excited to experience the "relentless" crowd on his side.
Smith signed on as Nyngan captain-coach in early 2020 but is still yet to play a competitive Group 11 match in Tigers colours.
Last season's competition was cancelled before a ball was kicked due to COVID-19 while Nyngan had the bye in the weekend's opening round of the 2021 season.
The Tigers open their account on Sunday at Forbes but Western Rams hooker Smith is already looking forward round three when his side plays its first match at home.
Larkin Oval is expected to again be packed with the passionate Tigers faithful that day for a clash with Smith's former Group 11 side, Macquarie.
"I've been out there a few times to play against them and the crowd is relentless," Smith said of Nyngan.
"They just give it to you and they always turn out in droves. The crowd is always massive and they've probably got the best following in Group 11 so it's going to be good to turn up and play for Nyngan and experience that."
The first home match of the year couldn't have worked out much better for Smith as he'll reacquaint himself with Macquarie.
Smith was a real favourite during his time with the Raiders and spent time back around the club earlier this year when he helped out good mate Anthony Egan-Smith, who coached Macquarie's Western Under 21s side.
"I can't wait to have our first home game and it just happens to be when Macquarie comes out. Somehow that has just planned itself," Smith added.
While the Macquarie match is a huge drawcard, Smith and his Tigers are focused on getting back to playing at Forbes this weekend.
Like every club coming back from the abandoned 2020 season, the pre-season has felt longer than usual for the Tigers.
The boys are itching to get out on the paddock.Jeremy Smith
The club has been busy and has added a number of new signings - one of those, Guy Thompson, has already earned Western Rams selection - while numbers at training have also been strong.
"The boys are itching to get out on the paddock," Smith said.
"Now we've just got to take it to take it on to the field and put our best foot forward."
Ben Baker and Peni Botiki are other recruits Smith is excited to see in action and while there's plenty of talented pieces at the club, the captain-coach also know some patience is needed.
As has always been the case with Nyngan, getting everyone together at the same time at training during pre-season has been a battle due to the large amount of shift workers who play for the club.
Some combinations may take a little time to come together but the captain-coach is happy to take the long-term view with his side.
"I can't see us hitting our straps for a little bit," Smith admitted.
"We've spoken about it previously. If we can just build on each game as it goes, hopefully it will put us in good stead late in the season to get into the semis and give it a good shake."
Justin Carney, the Tigers' captain-coach in 2019, remains in Nyngan and has signed with the club again but it is yet to be confirmed how much of a regular presence the former NRL player and powerhouse ball-runner will be this season.
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