It has been a big week already for Lawson Shepherd but he will be needed for Rugby in their clash against Newtown in the RSL Whitney Cup on Saturday at No.2 Oval.
During the week, Shepherd was part of the Western Zone Colts squad which played in Bathurst and eventually finished second in the competition only on net run rate.
Since returning home, Shepherd's attention has turned to Saturday's match which is a big one in the context of Rugby's season.
"We've got a better mindset now than we had at the start of the year," Shepherd said ahead of Rugby's match against Newtown.
"We're equal fourth at the moment so we'll be going in with a bit of confidence.
"We've got a few possible COVID scares so hopefully we can get enough players on the park."
While it is likely players from all clubs will miss matches due to COVID-19 over the next few weeks, Shepherd believes Rugby's push towards the finals will not just rely on the 11 or 12 players on the field.
"I think that's going to be happening a bit," he said.
"It's trying to be consistent while we have blokes in and out of the team.
"I suppose instead of having a group of 12 blokes it's going to be a group of 15 or so.
"But we feel comfortable with whoever we put out on the park."
Rugby have performed solidly so far this season but have yet to send a big message to the rest of the competition which could be done if they are to knock over Newtown on Saturday.
After returning from representing Western, Shepherd admitted he was impressed by the calibre of players at the carnival.
"It was good, it's good to play and see a lot of competitive cricket as well as kids who are competing at a lot higher level than I'm used to playing," he said.
"As well it was good to get a big win on the last day which nearly won us the carnival.
"We chased down nearly 200 off only 28 overs which was huge but it was just really good to play against people from all over the state at a really high level."
Rugby sits equal on points with RSL Colts in fourth position on the ladder and some consecutive wins to start the second half of the season could see them move into the top three, which Shepherd believes is his personal goal.
"That's the plan, I've got work on my bowling a bit and hopefully help get the team to finals," he said.
The third placed Newtown Tigers will be without one of their big names for the next several weeks with Western Zone all-rounder and former skipper Mat Skinner set to miss some action with an injured shoulder.
Meanwhile, Macquarie will face one of their toughest tests so far this RSL Whitney Cup on Saturday when they face RSL Colts at No.1 Oval.
Macquarie are currently a single point ahead of the CYMS Cougars on the ladder and will face the defending premiers RSL Colts who will be out to start the second half of the season off strongly.
It has been Macquarie's bowling which has been their strength so far this season and it is likely going to be key again with Myles and Blake Smith, Lachlan and Ben Strachan, Will Skinner and Ricky Medway all likely to feature with the ball.
RSL Colts will be looking to start of strongly with the bat with Marty Jeffrey and Chris Morton both among the top run-scorers early in the season while Mitch Bower and Brad Cox have also been impressive.
Across at No.3 Oval, South Dubbo will be looking to fire up again CYMS when the two do battle.
Souths are yet to win a game so far this season but have been a bogey side for CYMS over the last few season with games constantly going down to the wire.
CYMS will be without stars Tom Coady and Ben Patterson and Souths will need to take early wickets to rip through the Cougars top-order which has fired in recent weeks.
Souths captain Greg Rummans has been strong in recent weeks and could get the Hornets off to a flying start against the Cougars.
All three first grade games are Twenty20 fixtures this weekend and will start at 1pm.
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