Astley Cup action returns to Dubbo this week and the pressure will immediately be on the hosts.
After Orange High School defeated Bathurst in last week's opening round of the tri-school tournament, they'll make the trip to Dubbo knowing victory will secure them the title of Astley Cup champions.
Dubbo has plenty of motivation of its own, as it aims to win the cup in back-to-back years for the first time since 2008-09.
Dubbo College coordinator Craig May recently said one of his favourite parts of the cup each year is seeing young athletes respond to pressure and deliver in the big moments. Astley Cup has a happy knack of uncovering a star or showcasing the very best of an athlete who we've been all too aware of for a number of years.
Things will be no different this year and we've picked out five Dubbo College stars who will be key to their school's hopes of glory.
Millie Gooch is no stranger to the sports section of the Daily Liberal. As a star of the track throughout her juniors days and, more recently, an attacking weapon for Dubbo CYMS' league tag side, she's had her name up in lights many times.
Gooch is also the athletics captain for Dubbo College and how she performs in the track and field events could have a real impact on her school's overall points tally.
It was her stellar performance last year that helped send Dubbo on its way to cup glory.
Gooch entered five events last year - long jump, high jump, 100 metres, 400 metres and 4x100 metres - and won every one of them.
She'll be out for more of the same in 2022 while she'll also be part of the College's netball team.
Before round one of the 2022 Western Premier League - an open-age competition - Orana Spurs coach Ben Manson said this about his new teenage recruit.
"For someone so young, he plays like a senior. He reads the game so well and I'm excited. I think he'll be one of the players to watch this year, for sure. He's got a lot of talent," he said.
That's big praise for someone so young but Boney-Chillie has already proven himself as he's a former Junior Socceroos squad member.
Keep an eye on him in the soccer while he will also represent his school in athletics against both Orange and Bathurst.
Rugby league has long been the pride of Dubbo College when it comes to Astley Cup.
Even during the doldrums when Dubbo failed to win the cup once between 2012 and 2020, the rugby league side was a force to be reckoned with.
But things are a little different this year. Dubbo didn't dominate the western area carnival and on Friday the school will be up against an Orange side which proved too strong for Bathurst last week.
If they are to get the job done in the final event of the tie, young half Fing will be vital.
Fing has starred at halfback for Dubbo CYMS this year and has helped his side move to the top of the Western Under 18s ladder.
He scored a brilliant double in a recent derby win over Macquarie, leading CYMS captain Cooper Ferrari to describe him as "a freak".
Fing will also compete in the Astley Cup athletics.
Is it too late to campaign to have golf included in the Astley Cup?
One of the most exciting young golfers going around, Murray will instead be focused on what she can do with the tennis racquet and hockey stick during the Astley Cup competition.
She's no novice in either of those sports, having played both tennis and hockey throughout her junior sporting career and she's an experienced Astley Cup competitor.
Murray has one of the more glittering trophy collections of anyone competing in the Astley Cup this year and a handful more memorable showings in the next couple of weeks would be a perfect way to finish her school sport career.
Only Astley Cup coordinator Craig May, who loves getting to as many sporting events as he can, might be as busy as Hugh Sienkiewicz racing from ground to ground in the coming days.
Sienkiewicz has been selected in four Astley Cup squads, the most of any athlete from Dubbo.
His campaign starts with then basketball at 10.45am on Thursday, before it's straight to Sportsworld to compete in basketball at 12pm.
He'll have the afternoon and evening to recover before athletics from 9am and then soccer at 12pm on Friday.
Then he gets to do it all again the next week at Bathurst. If Dubbo is to win the cup again this year, Sienkiewicz will probably deserve an extra pat on the back.
9.30am: Netball at Dubbo Sportsworld
10.45am: Basketball at Dubbo Sportsworld
12pm: Tennis at Paramount Tennis Club
2pm: Hockey at Pioneer Park
9.15am: Athletics at Barden Park
11.45am: Boys' soccer at Apex Oval
1pm: Girls' soccer at Apex Oval
2.10pm: Rugby league at Apex Oval
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