New Bathurst Panthers signing Max Gay is set to bolster the Group 10 defending premier's backline, the youngster keen to cement himself a position ahead of the club's opening match of the season later this month.
Gay arrives from Group 20 outfit Yanco-Wamoon Hawks, a team he played for while he was a boarder at Yanco Agricultural High School.
His preferred position is centre and he could act as a potential replacement for Jye Barrow, who left the Panthers at the end of 2018 to join Woodbridge Cup outfit Molong Bulls.
Gay said he came to Bathurst because he wanted to try a different rugby league competition that he's never been in before.
He said it would be fantastic to win a grand final in his first season.
"It be good to go back-to-back," he said.
"It should be a good year, I'm hoping, in first grade."
He said one thing he's looking forward to, if he gets the opportunity, is playing in for Panthers in NRL curtain-raiser against Blayney on March 30.
"That'll be unreal," he said.
"I went and watched a game at Carrington a couple of weeks ago, with the Rams playing St Marys. It's a great ground and it looks good to play on."
Gay grew up in the South West Slopes town of Boorowa, before boarding in Yanco.
He started playing rugby league with the Yanco-Wamoon Hawks in 2016, joining the clubs under 16s set up.
His team made it all the way to the grand final but lost, while he also played for Yanco Agricultural High School's team throughout the year.
In 2017, he once again played for club and school, but wasn't able to find success.
But in 2018, the Hawks went through their entire season undefeated, with Gay captaining his side to grand final glory.
His school side also finished in the top eight for its shield competition, a big achievement for the school.
Gay said Doug Hewitt has been a big role model for him since joining Panthers.
"Doug Hewitt has been a big one," he said.
"There's Willie Wright and Blake Lawson as well. I've seen the video with Wright kicking the goal and I listened to the podcast where he talks about it. It's pretty mad."
Gay originally messaged clubs all across the region, with Panthers getting back in contact with.
"I just wanted to go somewhere different, so I messaged the club and they got back to me and they were very keen after seeing my stuff," he said.
"Danny Dwyer and Doug Hewitt did a lot, Doug finding me a place and a job."
Gay joins Kevin Murray, from the Moore Park Broncos, and Louis Murphy, from the Walgett Dragons, as new recruits for the Bathurst Panthers ahead of their up and coming campaign.
The Barrow brothers in Jye and Kade have both left Panthers for returning Woodbridge Cup side Molong Bulls, while Blake Hewitt has signed for the Young Cherrypickers, from Group 9.