Will Archer's return to the representative stage couldn't have been much better.
In his first year back at the higher level the Dubbo Kangaroos forward got through a huge amount of work for Central West during its Caldwell Cup triumph on the weekend.
Making it that little bit sweeter was the victory was recorded at Tamworth and a region he's all too familiar with.
A Mendooran product, Archer spent time at Robb College while studying at the University of New England in Armidale.
Five years ago he and fellow current Central West representatives Charlie French and Harry Webber were part of the New England side that was trampled by Central West in the Richardson Shield final.
On the weekend the trio were celebrating with the Blue Bulls after they held off a fast-finishing Far North Coast 24-19 to make it back-to-back Caldwell Cups.
French was part of the title win two years ago, but for Webber and Archer it was their first taste of Country Championship success.
"It's awesome," Archer said on Sunday.
"I've had a few years off playing rep since moving to Dubbo. I was going to play last year but obviously COVID put that to bed."
One of the best in the 2016 campaign for New England, Archer was huge for the Blue Bulls at blindside breakaway over the weekend. He was everywhere for them, both in attack and defence.
He was delighted to start at six in both games over the weekend given the quality of players in the position in the region but he justified the selection by scoring the opening try in his side's 21-7 win over Central Coast on Saturday.
"I was pretty stoked when I was starting because there's some pretty red-hot flankers," he said.
It was another successful weekend for the Kangaroos as Archer's teammate Joe Nash was named player of the final after Central West's win over Far North Coast.
Filisione Pauta was also a key part of the side's success while on the women's side Dubbo's Jean Littlewood, Olivia Creswick and Savannah Dimmock all helped Central West retain their country crown.
The women were convincing 35-15 winners in their decider against Hunter while the men were in complete control against Far North Coast and led 24-5 midway through the second half only to see that lead whittled away to just five points with seven minutes remaining.
Archer was called to the bench when his side was up by 19 points and admitted there was some tense moments late on.
"They were having a go with 20 minutes to go and we were 19-points up," Archer said.
"I was on the bench there and I was nervous but the boys got it done."
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