In his relatively short time as a captain-coach, winning any match has felt special for Alex Ronayne.
But he knows being the leader of the first team to win the Peter McDonald Premiership would be something to savour for the rest of his career.
And, in a show of confidence, Ronayne is confident he'll have the team to do it in 2022.
The Raiders are one of 13 clubs heading into the new competition next year and they've been handed one of the more difficult draws.
In the draft schedule released this week, Macquarie are facing six away games in the first nine weeks.
Trips to Mudgee, Nyngan, and Lithgow were among the early road trips while the Raiders will also take on Group 10 powerhouse Bathurst Panthers, and top Group 11 rivals Wellington and Dubbo CYMS in those first nine games.
But Ronayne isn't worried as much about who they are playing and when, as the ultimate goal of a premiership win is the biggest motivating factor.
"We want to start well. We'll have some new blokes so we'll want to show the new comp we're ready for it," Ronayne said.
"I'm going into my third year of coaching and to win this would be unreal.
"It's something I really want to do. Winning any game week in, week out means a lot to me but winning this comp would really mean a lot.
"I'm looking forward to it and I think we will have the team to win it."
Ronayne has helped rebuild the Raiders in the past two years.
The fruits of his efforts in 2020 weren't able to be seen as the entire season was cancelled due to COVID-19 but the Raiders had developed into a premiership contender this year before the pandemic forced all play to be abandoned again on the eve of finals.
The bulk of the players who represented the Raiders in 2021 are expected back again but Ronayne confirmed prop Nick Harvey and utility Richard Peckham won't be in blue next season.
The club has already been busy locking in new players, with Wellington pair EJ Fernando and Wade Peachey set to turn out for the Raiders in 2022 while former Castlereagh League premiership winner Josh Nixon is making the switch from Coonabarabran.
A number of Ronayne's first graders turned out on Tuesday night when the club held its first non-compulsory pre-season session.
Roughly 20 players from different grades were in attendance.
"I was pleased by it. There was a good vibe and it just continued what we've had the past two years. It's what it's all about," Ronayne said.
"Getting together, around the boys, and there's nothing better than being around them and playing footy."
With preparation already starting, Ronayne can't wait for the new premiership season to arrive.
"I'm very excited and I'm looking forward to it. There's been a lot of talk for a long time but I'm just glad to be a part of it," he said.
"Every week is going to be good footy. It's the six best teams from Group 11 and we know how strong they are in Group 10. It's going to be good footy all year round and I'm very excited about and keen as."
Macquarie Raiders' proposed fixtures
Week 1: Bathurst Panthers (H)
Week 2: Mudgee Dragons (A)
Week 3: Parkes Spacemen (H)
Week 4: Forbes Magpies (A)
Week 5: Wellington Cowboys (H)
Week 6: Nyngan Tigers (A)
Week 7: Parkes Spacemen (A)
Week 8: Dubbo CYMS (A)
Week 9: Lithgow Wolves (A)
Week 10: Nyngan Tigers (H)
Week 11: Wellington Cowboys (A)
Week 12: Bye
Week 13: Forbes Magpies (H)
Week 14: Cowra Magpies (A)
Week 15: Bye
Week 16: Forbes Magpies (H)
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