Sam Simmons loves his footy - you'd have to if you travelled as far as he did just to get a game.
The 22-year-old has been a consistent gun for Nyngan in the Group 11 competition but the lanky, goal-kicking whiz lives at Bourke so it's a four-hour round trip for Simmons just to get to Larkin Oval for Tigers training.
The further the Tigers travel, the further Simmons' hike from the north west of the state is.
Not that he minds.
So when the young fullback committed to Western Rams in 2019 he did it without hesitation, despite the trek for Saturday's under 23s country championship clash at Jack Arrow Oval in Bathurst totaling a touch under 560 kilometres, one way.
“It is quite a bit of travelling," Simmons admits ahead of the Rams round two match-up with the Greater Southern Region Wests Tigers.
"There was no junior footy in Bourke when I was growing up so I went down to Nyngan and I love it. Travelling has just become the norm."
Western has trained on Saturdays in Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst and Simmons has been at all of those sessions.
I wasn’t in the side last week so I'm stoked to be there on Saturday.Nyngan and Western winger Sam Simmons.
That's a total of 30 hours in the car, or 2870km up and back on the Mitchell Highway, just for three training sessions.
Most people don't travel that far for a holiday.
"Dubbo is the closest one and there's been a few trainings on Thursdays I've missed, but I just love my footy," Simmons said.
“I wasn’t in the side last week so I'm stoked to be there on Saturday."
Western will be looking to bounce back in a big way against the Tigers having suffered another touch-up at the hands of Monaro last week.
The Colts were pushed for the most part during an enthralling first half and led the Rams 22-16 at the break before running in 40 points in the second half to win by 42.
Simmons replaces Orange CYMS winger Travis Adelerhof on the flank for Saturday's clash in Bathurst and says despite Western copping a pasting from a red-hot Monaro confidence was still high in the green and white camp.
“We've got a really good side this year and everyone's pretty fit. It's a hard one," Simmons said looking at what went wrong last week.
“Timmy hasn’t said a whole lot, he doesn’t talk much … but I'll just be looking to do my part and try not to drop any balls."
Dubbo CYMS forward John Ciappara comes onto the bench for Ryan's Rams as well, with the rest of the 17 unchanged after last weekend's loss.
Lithgow prop Cody Godden was named ahead of last week's clash with Monaro but was a late withdrawal after breaking his hand at Workies training.
Illawarra thumped the GSR Wests Tigers 64-4 in their round one match-up last weekend.
Saturday's under 23s country championship clash kicks off at 2pm at Bathurst.
- WESTERN: 1 Lachlan Munro (Orange CYMS), 2 Zac Browne (Cowra Magpies), 3 Bailey Hartwig (Forbes Magpies), 4 Wade Kavanagh (Dubbo CYMS), 5 Sam Simmons (Nyngan Tigers), 6 Mitch Burke (Forbes Magpies), 7 Jack Beasley (Mudgee Dragons), 8 Ethan McKellar (c, Orange Hawks), 9 Hayden Bolam (Forbes Magpies), 10 Jack Mackey (Bathurst St Pats), 11 Ben Maguire (Forbes Magpies), 12 Tui Oloapu (Lithgow Workies), 13 Rakai Tuheke (Orange Hawks); Bench: 14 John Ciappara (Dubbo CYMS), 15 Jedd Betts (Bathurst Panthers), 16 Joe Duffy (Orange CYMS), 17 Jay Slavin (Parkes Spacemen).
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