The Parkes Spacemen will be without two of their most loyal servants when the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership kicks off.
Representative stars Sam Dwyer and Jordan Pope have both departed the club after moving to Wollongong and Newcastle respectively.
The pair have been regulars in the Parkes lineup for roughly a decade - Dwyer spent one season with Bathurst St Par's in 2018 - and they both started in the 2013 Group 11 grand final win over Dubbo CYMS as exciting juniors.
Pope missed the majority of the 2022 season due to injury while Dwyer proved one of the Spacemen's best, playing at hooker after making his name as a fullback.
Dwyer is set to return to the number one jersey next season after being appraoched to join Illawarra club Wests Devils.
"He wasn't thinking much about footy when he moved down, it was more about work," Tony Dwyer, Sam's father and Parkes Spacemen president, said.
"But someone rang him and said the fullback they had there had retired or something like that.
"He thought he may as well hook into it."
"He's looking forward to it. He's 28 now so he said if he doesn't do it now he never would," Tony Dwyer added.
"But we're going to miss him."
The same goes for Pope, who has made the move to Newcastle for work.
A workhorse in the back-row, Pope has been a consistent performer for Parkes and will leave a hole in a forward pack which went toe-to-toe with the best in the competition last season.
Brandon Tago, another member of Parkes' forward pack and a fellow regular in recent years, is also no certainty to return in 2023 after battling serious knee injuries toward the back end of this year.
The club president stated the club could now look to recruit a back-rower next season while a new outside back is also an option for the Spacies.
In more positive news, the Fijian stars the club recruited last season are expected to return.
Parkes is also yet to confirm its coaching situation for next season but an announcement is expected in the coming weeks.
Creith gave a taste of first grade to a number of juniors last season and it is hoped a lot of those players will kick on in 2023 and push to make starting spots their own.
Regardless of who lines up in the red, white and blue next season, Tony Dwyer is hopeful results will stay the same and the side might even be able to push a little further.
The Spacemen have been around the mark in the first grade competition in recent times but haven't been able to take that next step and reach a grand final.
"We've been thereabouts for a few years now but we need to take that next jump," Dwyer said.
"They've got have a bit of a mindset change, I think, and believe in themselves a bit more because they're always threatening."
Dwyer will also stay on as president in 2023. The bulk of the committee will remain the same and while the president said more volunteers would always be welcome, he is pleased to have stability behind the scenes.
"They're all dedicated and want to have a crack," he said.
"We poke along and we have a bit of fun, too. If you make it fun you keep them coming back. If it's a chore for people they don't tend to last too long."
All four grades at Parkes will be involved in western-wide competition in 2023.
A draft draw is with clubs currently for review and it is expected to be released publicly before the end of the year.
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