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The Peter McDonald Premiership (PMP) season proper will kick off this weekend, and Round One will feature five mouth-watering crossover matches between Group 10 and Group 11 clubs.

Mudgee and Forbes set the tone early, with the Dragons firing at home to beat the Magpies 26-18 at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium on April 1.

There will be no love lost on Saturday as outfits battle for early season supremacy, with Nyngan Tigers making the four-hour trip to Bathurst to play St Pat’s, while Dubbo CYMS will be at home to the Bathurst Panthers.

On Sunday, Wellington Cowboys host Lithgow Workies, Orange CYMS take on a visiting Dubbo Macquarie Raiders, and Orange Hawks head to Parkes to play the Spacemen.

Crossover games have proven popular in the PMP, with unique contests only adding interest and intrigue to the wide-reaching 12-team competition.

Nyngan is not concerned about the journey in front of them on Saturday and are keen to make a statement.

“It will be a good challenge with that travel, but like I have said to the boys during our pre-season, our training and focus is always about handling whatever comes our way and what is thrown at us,” Nyngan coach James Tuitahi said.

A new-look Tigers line-up will feature Group 11 premiership winner Mason Williams after he moved to Nyngan from Wellington. At the same time, Macquarie duo Corey Cox and Josh Merritt also joined the club.

“The sky is the limit for us, and I'm just happy that we got these boys on board because it is a big commitment from them to travel from Dubbo,” Tuitahi said.

“We have some excellent talent, and we have a lot of good, young players, and our training has been good, and we have set some really high standards.

“Everyone is on board, and everyone in the club knows that we accept nothing less than those standards.”

Tuitahi – a player that has spent much of his career on the fringe of NRL selection – has been welcomed with open arms by Nyngan.

While he will not play for a few weeks due to injury, he is looking to build a good foundation as the Tigers try and make their mark in the PMP.

“I thought this job was the next step in my career, and it gives me a chance to give back to the younger fellas,” Tuitahi said.

“I came out here last year when they first offered me the position and checked out the club and community, and it felt right, and it gives me a chance to raise men and not just footy players.”

Nyngan will be up against it in their first hit-out, facing a St Pat's side that finished third on the Group 10 ladder in 2022.

Still coached by Zac Merritt, the Bathurst outfit must contend with many changes, welcoming the likes of Willie Wright, Noah Griffiths, Tyrese Edwards, Ash Cosgrove, and Harry Reicher while losing Tye Siakisoni, Mitchell Squire, and Kyle Mawhinney.

PMP Round One draw – April 15: Bathurst St Patricks v Nyngan Tigers at Jack Arrow Oval; Dubbo CYMS v Bathurst Panthers at Apex Oval on Saturday. April 16: Wellington Cowboys v Lithgow Workies Wolves at Kennard Park; Orange CYMS v Dubbo Macquarie Raiders at Wade Park; Parkes Spacemen v Orange Hawks at Jock Colley Field.

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