Magpies celebrate a century of league in Forbes

Great plays were re-lived and losses analysed when the Forbes Magpies hosted a reunion celebrating 100 years of rugby league in Forbes.

With special guests Paul Sironen and Willie Mason, everything league was up for discussion, from NSW's first-round Origin loss to "what happens on tour" yarns.

The two NRL legends took the stage to cap a big afternoon at the Forbes Sports and Recreation Club, speaking about some of the game's great coaches and characters, its big moments and big decisions.

The occasion marked 100 years of rugby league in Forbes and premiership winning teams got back together on Saturday, including the first grade side of 1987, the winning juniors of 1992 and 1999.

The Magpies' Darren Keane MC'd the afternoon and spoke about the local club's history, its stand-out players from across the decades, the grand final glories and the tough years.

Parkes-raised Australian player Talesha Quinn shared some of her journey into representative level sport.

She also spoke about the future of women in league: Talesha had to travel from this area to get a start in the sport, today there's a growing number of women playing league and increased opportunities for country girls to play at elite levels.

Premiership-winning captain coach Jake Grace was next to take the stage, to speak about the team that broke Forbes' 28-year Group 11 premiership drought.

Confirming that he has stepped back from footy to focus on his young family and career, Grace spoke highly of his time as a Red Bend junior and his return to Forbes Magpies as captain coach.

"You don't have to be the most gifted players, but if you unite properly you can be the best team and that's what we did in 2016," Grace said.

"It was 28 years since we had won a premiership and that table of boys there brought it back to Forbes."

The fact that young local players had come together, to form that winning side made it all the sweeter.

Success couldn't have come at a better time for the community either, 2016 and 2018 representing tough years from flood to drought.

"I think football brings people together and it brings the positives out," Grace said.

"Mitch Andrews, Mitch Burke, Benny the young boys came through and delivered this town a grand final.

"It's something pretty special, to do it with your home-grown, there's nothing more important than that because they're the backbone of your club."

And those players are still here, he added, forming the backbone of the club with a promising generation of juniors coming along too.

While the 2019 first grade side has had a less than ideal first half of the season, dropping three big home games and losing the long weekend derby against arch rivals Parkes, Grace on Saturday at least thought they were on track.

"They've got a couple of good opponents ahead of them but knowing Cameron and what he instills in his team I think success is only just around the corner," he said.

"The few games I have seen the boys play it's very close, it's just gotta click.

"The talented lads they've got there, the community, the coaching staff, they'll hit that switch and come good at the right time."

"You don't just need players, you need a strong committee and an ever stronger supporter base," Keane said.

That's something the Magpies have never wanted for, even through some tough years where they struggled for numbers.

"You'd go a long way in country football to find a supporter base like we have," Keane said.

It was fitting that the Magpies Old Boys paid special tribute to one person who has gone above and beyond even that of a life member.

Greg Grogan and Andrew Rousell presented Geoffrey Acheson with a special trophy to acknowledge his long-standing support of the Magpies.

Hector has put more than 40 years into the club, Grogan said, putting his hand up for any job that needed doing since his own playing days.

"Junior league, senior league, coaching for nothing when the club was struggling, played for nothing, he's done everything for this club and kept it going," Grogan said.

"All I can say is if I didn't love the club I wouldn't do it," Acheson responded.

"I love the football, I love everyone that gets around - thank you very much."