The battle for a spot in Alex Ronayne and Jack Kavanagh's Macquarie Raiders side for round one is well and truely on after an impressive trial win against Orange Hawks on Sunday.
The Raiders took on Hawks at Orange and it was the visiting side who came away with a 40-22 victory in their final hit-out before round one.
Ronayne resumed his captain-coach role in 2023 after doing so last year but has now been joined by Kavanagh upon his return to Dubbo.
After Sunday's match, Ronayne believes the pair will be a few tough decisions to make after some standout performances in their trial win.
"It's a good headache to have," he said.
"But I'm sure Jack and I will make the right choice, there will be a few boys who are going to be disappointed.
"We've got a really good team there."
Clayton Daley scored a double for the Raiders while EJ Fernando, Filisone Pauta, Josh Nixon, Brodie Ford and Bailey Ross all crossed the line, with Harry Kempston kicking six conversion during the game.
Kempston and his young brother Charlie, were two of the club's reserve grade stars in 2022 but both found themselves playing big minutes on Sunday.
Ahead of round one, Ronayne believes the younger Kempston could join his brother in the starting 13 for Macquarie's clash against Orange CYMS.
"Harry and Charlie both played reserve grade last year, they were probably two of our stars in the game," he said.
"Along with young Bailey Ross on the wing, he played really well.
"We had young Dalin (Smith) and basically our full bench was coming off the reserve grade game.
"They all did a good job and are definitely in the mix for round one."
With the opening round of the Peter McDonald Premiership just two weeks away, Ronayne is confident his side have a lot of strike power across the park for the 2023 season.
"We scored a lot of points but like the score 22-24 at one point which was a bit disappointing," he said.
"However, the boys can scores tries when they want to it seems that for sure."
For a lot of the players, Sunday was their first run of the season and Ronayne said the whole club enjoyed their time back on the field with all four grades in action.
"It was a really good day," he said.
"It's just an added bonus that we got the win. We had a few boys out.
"But that brought a few young boys up and gave them a crack which was nice.
"They all did there job and like I said it was just nice to get the win at the end of the day."
The reserve grade game was also won by the Raiders, with the final score being 10-8 while the league tag side won their match but unfortunately the 18s lost convincingly.
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