The achievements of Isaah Yeo and Matt Burton will inspire the next generation of stars from the state's west to chase their dreams.
That's the feeling in Dubbo and the wider region after the pair of St John's juniors helped the Penrith Panthers claim an NRL premiership win on Sunday night.
The Dubbo boys were in the thick of the action throughout the 14-12 win over South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium.
Matt Burton, who was playing a Group 11 grand final with Dubbo CYMS just three years ago, scored the opening try of the night while Yeo got to hold the silverware aloft with fellow co-captain Nathan Cleary after another tireless showing in the middle of the park.
"I just think it's great so much focus of that team was on the bush boys from the Central West," Group 11 secretary Paul Loxley said.
"Their profile within our community, because of their profile in the NRL, is going to be absolutely incredible.
"These kids are going to be talking about Matt Burton and Isaah Yeo, and guys like Charlie Staines in Forbes."
The Panthers' connection with the Western Rams region is well known and the pathway has already developed a number of NRL players.
Sunday night's win was about all those players for people like Evan Jones, the NSW Rugby League's manager for Western.
Jones has seen that pathway develop during the past decade and led to the likes of Burton, Staines, Kaide Ellis, and Billy Burns all running out with the Panthers.
That's what all the kids who come through our Rams program aspire to.Evan Jones
Staines was there supporting the Panthers from the sideline last night, alongside Wellington junior Brent Naden, after they failed to make the final 17 while a host of other Western juniors are already part of Penrith's lower grade system chasing their NRL dream.
"It's a reflection of the time and effort Penrith has put into our development programs and the development of our coaching staff and programs," Jones said.
"That's what all the kids who come through our Rams program aspire to.
"To see it's able to be realised gives that extra bit of motivation."
Having players from Dubbo and the wider area reaching the peak of the game is nothing new.
It was only last year Orange junior Jack Wighton was winning the Dally M medal after a sensational year with Canberra.
Bathurst's Will Kennedy was named Cronulla's best player for 2021 while former Woodbridge Cup Cody Ramsey continues his development at St George Illawarra, alongside Ellis and Burns.
Former Wellington Cowboys star Kotoni Staggs remains one of the Brisbane Broncos' best players despite his injury woes in recent times while Braidon Burns (Coonamble), Tyrone Peachey (Wellington) and Josh Jackson (Gulgong) are just some of the others from the state's west performing at the very top of the game.
In years gone by it was the norm as well, and Loxley pointed to those helping grow the game in the region now as an example of how those within the rugby league community do what they can to help it's development.
"History will show we've had the depth out here," he said.
"You look at guys like Ronny (Gibbs) and the Peach (David Peachey).
"We've got an ex-international (Peachey) coaching at Dubbo Macquarie, giving back to the game, which is wonderful, and Rambo (Gibbs) is doing the same."
Yeo and Burton became the first Dubbo products to win an NRL premiership since Andrew Ryan in 2004 on Sunday night.
That in itself is worth celebrating but Loxley said it was even more special given how much of an important role the pair, who both earned a spot in the Dally M Team of the Year, played.
"Isaah, I think, will play his career out at Penrith and he will be captain for a long time," he said.
"Who else is a man his size and can play the game the way he does? He sets the run.
"So many times he sets it up and it goes from him to Nathan (Cleary). He protects Nathan and then allows it go out to Luai and the others.
"And I thought Burton just killed them. I thought they deserved to win it after being beat the year before."
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