Ask anyone at either club, there’s never any shortage of motivation heading into a Parkes and Forbes Group 11 derby, in any grade.
But, for Jason Kennedy, his Forbes Magpies under 18s team viewed Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with the unbeaten Spacemen juniors as a chance to “play big”.
And play big they did.
Making a statement with the 32-14 victory, the Magpies surge to the top of the Group 11 ladder was as emphatic as it was entertaining.
Fullback-come-winger Ray Towney bagged a hat-trick in the seven-tries-to-three mauling of a Parkes side minus its best player, custodian Benji Glasheen.
His Forbes counterpart, Charlie Staines was well contained by the Spacies defence and spent 10 minutes in the sin bin during the first half after being pinged for a professional foul.
But the man advantage didn’t amount to much, as the visiting Magpies skipped to a 20-10 lead at the break before kicking on with three more tries in the second period, too.
“We were pretty keen for this game,” Kennedy said.
“We had it circled on the calendar and we were ready to come out and play big.”
Forbes started well, scoring off their first set via a clever cross-field kick Toby Hurford that landed essentially in the arms of an unmarked Towney out wide.
Parkes hit back through Cody Crisp and hooker Michael Murphy, but further Magpies tries to Jack Hartwig, Thomas Maguire and a Campbell Woolnough special right through the centre of the field right on half-time ensured the Spacemen’s joy was short-lived.
“I’ve played here plenty of times and when Forbes plays Parkes you know Parkes is going to come out ready to go, we had to match it and get over the top of it and I thought we did that with our defence, our pack was unbelievable,” Kennedy added.
Kenney was especially thrilled with the work of Towney – who finished the match with 16 points - while forwards Aaron Mawhinney and Luke Evans drew special praise from their coach after big performances through the middle-third of the field.
Parkes trainer Todd Jayet said while no loss is ideal, a defeat in June is far from the end of the world.
But the simple errors the Spacies juniors conceded – twice the Parkes boys, wearing replica jerseys worn by the club’s premiership winning 1997 under 18s team, dropped the ball off the kicko-off – are of some concern.
“The boys came out slow today, we didn’t complete the sets and our drop ball, if you do that against a Forbes side they’ll make you pay.”
“We were pumped, the boys from 97 came in and handed out the jerseys, but we just weren’t on today.”
Parkes took the honours in both league tag and reserve grade, 26-10 and 26-22 respectively.
Forbes Magpies have the bye this weekend, and on Sunday will gather at the Forbes Sports and Recreation Club for the Peter Corliss Memorial Day.
It's 12 months since Cork, a stalwart of the club and charity CanAssist passed away.
It's the annual rugby league versus rugby union contest and all are welcome to join - bowls and lunch for $30 per person.