In the opening half of the Group 10 premier league season Orange CYMS will have the benefit of playing five of eight games at Wade Park, including their opening two fixtures against Bathurst St Pat’s and Bathurst Panthers, respectively.
While premierships aren’t won and lost in those first nine rounds, the results certainly go a long way to determining regular season standings. CYMS have one of the better starts to the winter, while St Pat’s and Panthers both have unenviable openings to the season.
Both sides are looking forward to the challenge of facing CYMS in the opening rounds though, particularly Panthers, led by former Orange Hawks captain-coach Todd Barrow.
CYMS scored a last-ditch 22-20 win over Panthers in the 2016 major semi-final, a win for the men in black against the Orange club will go some way to putting the disappointment of the 2016 finals season behind them.
“They’re always strong, always buy well and they’ve done that again this off-season,” Barrow said of CYMS.
“I know the boys are already looking forward to that game.”
St Pat’s coach Kurt Hancock said his side is also champing at the bit for an early-season shot at Mick Sullivan’s troops.
It begins a torrid start to the year for the Saints, after CYMS they play reigning premiers Mudgee, then Panthers and Oberon.
“CYMS are going to be strong again,” Hancock said of the green and golds.
“A start like that is going to be a challenge, but it is what it is”
Round one is on April 9.