In the lead-up to Sunday's match against the Macquarie Raiders, Forbes coach Cameron Greenhalgh didn't hear a whole lot from star fullback Mitch Andrews.
That was a good sign.
Andrews went on to light up Sunday's Peter McDonald Premiership clash, scoring three tries as the Magpies scored a 24-22 win over Macquarie.
"You get the feeling with Mitch before a game, how he prepares himself," Greenhalgh said.
"In the lead-up to that game he stays to himself and that's when you know Mitch Andrews is on and that's dangerous. He was dangerous and really wanted to put on a display (against Macquarie) and he did that.
"He stays be himself and talks to himself a bit, which is what he does. You get a bit of a smile on your face when you see him do that stuff because you know he's ready to play."
The hat-trick capped a big few days for Andrews after he was also named in the NSW Country senior squad last week.
Andrews was the only Western player to be selected after the Rams won one of two Country Championships matches earlier in the year.
As a long-serving coach with Forbes and the Western Rams, Greenhalgh has had plenty to do with the Andrews' development and he was delighted to see the Group 11 premiership winner recognised last week.
"It's very good. He's a good young fella," Greenhalgh said.
"He plays with a lot of passion and that can get under the opposition's skin at times but he deserves it.
"He's an athlete and the things he can do at training are unbelievable.
"He deserves the selection and he's started the season injury-free and he's playing his best footy at the moment."
There's no easy games this season so we need to be on every week.Cameron Greenhalgh
Injuries have plagued the former Newcastle Knights under 20s player during much of his career but Greenhalgh said he's been working hard on his body and fitness and "is doing everything right at the moment".
That showed on Sunday as he scored two early tries to help power the Magpies out to a 12-0 lead over the Raiders after 12 minutes at Spooner Oval.
The hosts were threatening to run away with the match early on but the Raiders eventually began to find their groove and tries for Johnny Mafiti and Filisione Pauta helped level up the scores.
Forbes worked its way back in front by the half-time whistle and while there was some errors from the Magpies in the second half, they got the job done by two points to keep their unbeaten start to the season alive and maintain top spot in the Group 11 pool.
Given the Magpies have been notoriously slow starters in previous seasons, often storming home with momentum at finals time, the early rounds of the 2022 season have been particularly pleasing.
"It's something I spoke about every time at training and something I spoke about before games, how we start the season can take the pressure off towards the end," Greenhalgh said.
"That was the plan and it's worked so far. There's no easy games this season so we need to be on every week."
The win on Sunday sets up a bumper clash with Dubbo CYMS at Forbes next weekend.
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