Nyngan may only have the one win so far in the 2021 Group 11 and be facing a daunting trip to take on the unbeaten Dubbo CYMS this weekend but there is one reason the Tigers faithful should be getting excited.
Former NRL and Super League player and one-time Nyngan captain-coach Justin Carney is set to make his comeback in the coming weeks, and the imminent return is already creating a buzz.
Thirty-two-year-old Carney made the most of the last year's COVID-enforced cancellation of Group 11 and it used it as a chance to get away for rugby league for one of the few times in his life.
He's remained living and working in Nyngan - he's started to get involved in horse racing and training - but has promised current Tigers captain-coach Jeremy Smith when he returns and he's back and fully locked in for the season ahead.
"I can't wait to get him back on the paddock," Smith said.
"I'm looking forward to it a lot. Obviously a man of his calibre, he's done a lot in his life and played a very high level of football.
"He'll pick up everyone's attitude, having a bloke like that around the camp in and training."
Carney was one of the most talked about signings in bush footy when agreed to return to the Tigers for the 2019 season after finishing up playing with Hull KR in England.
He had previously been a Trangie and Nyngan junior before making the move the Canberra Raiders.
The damaging outside back, famously given the nicknames 'Tank on the Flank' and 'Thing on the Wing', also spent time at the Sydney Roosters before embarking on a six-year career in the Super League.
His impact following his return to Nyngan was massive as he immediately become one of the most difficult players to tackle in the competition while fans from all over came to watch the former professional showcase his talents.
As powerful and skillful as Carney is, rugby league hasn't always been something he's had a passionate love affair with and he stated after the Tigers were agonisingly beaten in the 2019 preliminary final part of him was glad because it meant he could get away from the game for awhile.
That break became longer than initially expected as COVID arrived to ruin the 2020 season but Smith said the lack of competitive action has worked out as a positive.
"As people get older work and family commitments come in and things like that and footy goes on the backburner," Smith said.
"He's done nothing but footy since he was about 17 years old so that break has done him the world of good and he'll come back and ready to go.
"He said once he's back in he's fully focused and ready to rip in."
While it's not yet certain what round Carney will return in, if he does play this weekend he will do so in the Tigers' biggest match of the season up to this point.
Smith's side sits fifth on the ladder after the opening five rounds and is coming off a 38-26 defeat at home to Wellington.
After a round one bye the Tigers have conceded an average of more than 33 points a game and that's a danger side heading into the meeting with the Fishies.
The unbeaten leaders are coming off the bye last week and have been rampant in attack so far this season, scoring at least 40 points in each of their first four wins.
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