The chance to lead the Macquarie Raiders' revival was far more attractive to Jason Boney than joining a Dubbo CYMS outfit which had already won it all.
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Boney will return to the western area next season after the Raiders won the race for the halfback's signature.
CYMS was interested in getting their former under 18s captain back in green and white and Boney has a number of mates at the club, but the chance to get a Raiders side which missed the Peter McDonald Premiership finals this year back in the premiership conversation was a tempting one.
"I was meant to have a sit down and meeting with CYMS ... but I didn't even have the meeting. I'd made the decision before then," Boney said.
"They're the champs and I just don't really like going to a winning side. That might sound petty but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
"Talking to some mates and people around the club (Macquarie), they said they needed a boost around the halves and we spoke about what they lacked and that's a lot of what I could bring to the club.
"CYMS has just won a grand final so they don't need too much help. They're pretty well covered across the park but I think I can definitely boost things in the halves and give that bit of guidance."
This off-season wasn't the first time Macquarie and CYMS battled for Boney's services.
It was roughly a decade ago when Boney completed pre-season with the Raiders' under 18s only to move to CYMS on the eve of round one.
As someone who once never expected to play for CYMS, the idea of now finally lining up in the blue of the Jack Kavanagh captain-coached Macquarie is a slightly funny one for Boney.
"To be honest, I'm sort of one of those guys that just sort of go where the boys go," he laughed.
"I had a lot of good mates at Macquarie at the time (in under 18s) but CYMS is a good club.
"They look after you and bring the best out of you on the field and I obviously haven't laced them up for Macquarie yet but I'm sure they do the same.
"It was a pretty hard decision to make in the end."
Boney has remained connected to the west through the Castlereagh All Blacks' Koori Knockout side while he's been playing his club footy at Newcastle in more recent times and spent 2023 in the reserve grade outfit at Souths.
The Souths first grade side is coached by Dubbo junior and former Australian representative Andrew Ryan and made the grand final this year while his brother and former Dubbo CYMS coach Tim leads the club's under 19s side.
While Boney saw himself more as a running half during his previous time in Dubbo, he'll return an older and different player.
That will be a benefit for a Macquarie side which has struggled to nail down a consistent halfback for a number of years now.
Harry Kempston, Josh Merritt, Jai Merritt, Richie Peckham and Wyndham Peachey have all been tasked with guiding the Raiders around the park at different times in the last three years alone.
Boney's signing follows that of former Fishies player Kyjuan Crawford at Macquarie.
The versatile Crawford - capable of playing in the centres, back-row or even at five-eighth - spent time in first grade early in the season before helping the Fishies' reserve grade side claim premiership success.
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