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Parkes Spacemen have launched their season in the right direction following a dominant 40-14 victory over the Orange Hawks in Round One of the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership.

Playing at Pioneer Oval in Parkes, the two sides could not be split after 40 minutes as they went try-for-try, with Spacemen custodian Jake Dooley crossing for an entertaining double.

Hawks hooker and captain Alex Prout was sent from the field in the 29th minute, allowing the Spacemen to capitalise in the second half.

The home side scored three quick tries to take the game away from the visitors, and while the Hawks scored to stem the bleeding, the Spacemen added two more tries later in the game to consolidate a dominant 40-14 victory.

“It was a good result for us,” Parkes captain-coach Chad Porter said after the win.

“They were half-decent, and that send-off would have hurt them, but it was pretty even up until half-time.

“We had some good ball and dropped it, and when we were playing with an extra man, we felt like we needed to score every time we had the ball," Porter said.

“In the second half, we just went through our sets and gassed them, and once we were patient, we could take advantage of the extra man.”

Parkes were seemingly in trouble heading into the new season following the shock retirement of 2022 captain-coach Jack Creith, while Sam Dwyer and Jordan Pope headlined the Spacemen's off-season departures.

Dooley, a Parkes junior, returned home while former NRL player Jack Buchanan moved across from the Cowra Magpies.

It meant a new-look Parkes engine boasting a lot of size and power on Sunday, with bookends Takitau Mapapalangi and Buchanan getting through a mountain of work.

At the same time, Rex Yallon was good in the second row, and Tikiko Rokodelana added impact from the bench.

“I reckon our middle is the best we have had in years,” Porter said.

“Our go-forward is excellent, and with guys like Buchanan and the big Kiwi fella (Mapapalangi), it just makes it easy to get on the front foot, and it helps to have guys that know what's going on.

“In previous years, we’ve had guys that do a job, but these fellas can break a game open and bust a line, and it is very easy playing off the back of them.”

Parkes have a myriad of attacking weapons out wide, meaning there will be plenty of points in the offing.

“We’ve got Jacob Smede on the wing and give him the ball, and he can make a break or do anything, and Dooley at fullback can score, and he can ice them too, and he has got a good last pass,” Porter said.

“Big Jim (Timoci Dabea) in the centres; he's like another front rower out there, so we have a lot of points to score.”

The Spacemen will travel to Bathurst on Sunday for Round Two to battle the Panthers, who lost 60-0 to the perennially robust Dubbo CYMS in Round One.

Round One PMP results – Mudgee Dragons 26 def Forbes Magpies 18, Bathurst St Pat's 33 def Nyngan Tigers 32, Dubbo CYMS 60 def Bathurst Panthers nil, Wellington Cowboys 20 def Lithgow Wolves 12, Parkes Spacemen 40 def Orange Hawks 14, Dubbo Macquarie Raiders 52 def Orange CYMS 12.

Round Two PMP draw – April 22: Forbes Magpies v Orange CYMS at Spooner Oval, Lithgow Wolves v Dubbo CYMS at Tony Luchetti Sportsground; April 23: Dubbo Macquarie Raiders v Mudgee Dragons at Apex Oval; Nyngan Tigers v Orange Hawks at Larkin Oval, Bathurst Panthers v Parkes Spacemen at TBC, Wellington Cowboys v Bathurst St Pat's.

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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