Alex Ronayne has had the honour of captaining some great Western Rams teams before but he believes this year's squad is as talented as any he has been involved with.
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Ronayne and the rest of Cameron Greenhalgh's Rams open squad will have their first trial this weekend at Young against Riverina Bulls ahead of the NSW Country Championships opening round.
Following on from the under 16s and 18s matches on Sunday, Western will get a chance to experiment with a few new combinations across the park.
However, for Ronayne, he can't wait to get back on the park alongside some new and familiar faces.
"I reckon it's probably the best Rams squad I've been part of," he said.
"We've got some good players there with a lot of experiences like 'Camo' (Greenhalgh) said there are about seven captain-coaches in the group.
"There are a lot of boys who know the game so I'm looking forward to it."
Group 11 has dominated Sunday's team with 15 of the 24 players named this weekend playing their club football in the region.
The Macquarie co-captain/coach will feature in the second-row on Sunday with Wellington's Justin Toomey-White set to play in the back row as well alongside talented youngster Charlie Lennon.
New Mudgee Dragons captain-coach Clay Priest, Jack Kavanagh and Ben Thompson will make up the other starting spots in the forward pack.
Toomey-White hasn't played for Western since returning to the bush in 2018 but Ronayne is excited to lineup alongside him.
"Justo and I have a very good relationship, we are good mates on and off the field," he said.
"I'm looking forward to it, everyone knows the impact he brings and I cannot wait to run around with him.
"He's going to bring a lot to the team."
Greenhalgh has yet to name a captain for the side as of yet but has plenty of options to choose from with at least eight players in the group having captain-coached their respective club sides before.
Mitch Andrews will control things at fullback for the Rams while Jeremy Thurston and Corin Smith look like terrifying prospects for any defender after being named to start in the centres.
New Macquarie player Billy Gilbert has been included on the bench and his club co-coach hopes he can show the rest of the squad how good he is.
"Billy Gilbert is a very good player, Macquarie are very lucky to have him with us and he is also a good mate of mine," he said.
"It's a good chance for a few of those boys to show the people in our group what he has good.
"A young guy like Zeke Hartwig I think deserves his spot."
Mudgee's Jack Littlejohn has also been included on the extended bench but is most likely unavailable, leaving Nick Greenhalgh and Chad Porter in the halves.
"We've got Clay Priest and Jack Littlejohn as well," Ronayne said.
"Jack has NRL experience, I wouldn't say we are stacked but we've got a good team.
"It's nice to see the boys wanting to step up and have a run for Western. It's a good chance to put our name back up there."
Western's NSW Country Championships campaign will begin on March 4 when they face Northern Tigers.
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