HE thought the notion of an open Western Rams side was dead, but now Jake Betts is hoping he can experience something in the famous green and white jumper he wouldn't have dreamed of "in a million years".
It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Western Rams will be part of a unique state-wide Presidents Cup competition for 2020. It is something talented Bathurst Panthers lock Betts wants to be a part of.
"I will definitely put my hand up, it's good to keep the body ticking over. I missed a year a couple of years ago and I put on about 20 kilos, so I need to do something," he laughed.
"With no other footy being played it's a good opportunity, it's exciting and hopefully a few of the boys get behind it ... it was definitely out of the blue."
Betts knows about the pride and passion of playing in a Western Rams jumper. He was a member of the under 23s Country Championships campaign in 2018 and has made two previous appearances for the opens.
But those open age games - in 2017 against the Federation of Italia Rugby League and last year in the nail-biting 22-20 loss to France - were one-off fixtures.
Given the Country Championships was capped at an under 23s age mark four years ago, one-off games were the only opportunity for the open age Rams.
But the Presidents Cup changes that.
The competition will see regional teams like the Rams and Dubbo CYMS pitting their skills against big-name metropolitan outfits such as the North Sydney Bears and Wentworthville Magpies.
All up seven sides will battle over seven rounds and a four-week finals series. It's an opportunity that Betts is thrilled to have.
"I think just the prospect of playing footy this year is exciting, but to play for Western Rams - the last couple of years it has been dead and I didn't know if it would come back, so it's very exciting," he said.
"I didn't expect to get this chance, definitely not, not coming from this area and with blokes from the country, not in a million years. In that regard it is very special, it'll be really good.
"Hopefully they can get a couple of games at Bathurst and hopefully we can get crowds there. If we could have crowds I'm sure we could draw a few people there."
While it remains to be seen which players earn selection in the Western Rams squad, Betts hopes both he and a number of his Bathurst Panthers club-mates get the nod.
It would help to make up for the disappointment of the cancellation of Group 10's 2020 premier league competition. Panthers were hoping to make it a premiership three-peat.
"It can see it from both angles," Betts said of the cancellation.
"It was a bit hard to start back up after having so long off and all the sponsors were hurting, so I can see it that way, but we were going for three in a row, so it was disappointing in that respect.
"I think there will be a few blokes that will be keen, it's just a matter of moving around commitments and how they work out training. I'm sure a lot of boys will be keen though.
"I was a bit worried, it would have been the first year we didn't have a mad Monday, so this might give us the chance to do that too."