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The perennially strong Dubbo CYMS are more than happy to own the competition favourites tag after five rounds of the 2023 Peter McDonald Premiership (PMP).

Having won four of five outings, including a 20-4 victory over the Macquarie Raiders in their annual Dubbo derby fixture at Apex Oval on Sunday, the CYMS sit atop the Group 11 table and second overall on the PMP table, trailing only the unbeaten Mudgee Dragons.

Coached by Shaun Townsend, CYMS boast a talent-laden outfit, including fullback and competition-leading try scorer Jeremy Thurston and exciting outside backs Thomas Hughes and Jyie Chapman.

Additionally, the CYMS are led by a ferocious forward pack consisting of Ben Marlin, Jarryn Power, Billy Sing, Thomas Stimson, Jayden Merritt, and Chanse Burgess.

Townsend said expectations were always high at the club.

“Don’t worry, we set the bar high and want to play in Grand Finals every year,” Townsend said.

“We have been consistently good for 20 years, and the expectation is that we want to play for a Grand Final each year.

“You’re never going to win them all, but we want to be there, and that expectation is right across the club, including first grade, reserve grade, League Tag, and Under 18s.”

Motivating the Dubbo side in 2023 is last year’s PMP Grand Final loss to Forbes after CYMS entered the match as favourites to win before going down to the Magpies 28-16.

“Last year, when we lost, we were all walking around deflated for a while,” Townsend said.

“We want to win it this year, and as they say, shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.”

CYMS started the season on fire with big wins over Group 10 rivals Bathurst Panthers 60-0 and Lithgow Workers 42-8.

The Dubbo outfit held off a game Wellington side 32-14 in Round Three before losing to Parkes 40-28 in Round Four.

Townsend was happy to see the CYMS bounce back against the Macquarie Raiders in Round Five, but he believes his side’s best performances are still in front of them.

“We always set a few goals, and we wanted to get away with a good start,” Townsend said.

“The last four weeks, we’ve played four good sides, and we’re happy to win three of the four.

“For the first couple of weeks, we played some good footy, and we haven’t played the best the last couple of weeks, and against Parkes, we deserved to lose.

“Still, we haven’t got any injuries, and we have a full squad to pick from, and we’ll continue to build on that good start.”

CYMS host a youthfully exuberant Nyngan Tigers at Apex Oval on Sunday, and Townsend expects it to be another high-quality Group 11 contest.

“They’re a young team, but they are goers; they have a crack and throw the ball around, and they might make some mistakes, but that won’t worry them, and they’ll be tough to beat,” Townsend said.

“They chase hard, harass you, and they are young, fit, and fearless, and we are on the other end of the scale and not as young or fit.

“Still, we’ve got some experience, and it’s up to those fellas to challenge them for 80 minutes, and hopefully, we come away with the win.”

Nyngan enters the match following a 30-20 loss to the Forbes Magpies at Larkin Oval on Sunday.

Round Five: Mudgee Dragons 42 def Lithgow Wolves 10, Bathurst St Pats 42 def Orange CYMS 12, Orange Hawks 16 def Bathurst Panthers 12, Parkes Spacemen 26 def Wellington Cowboys 24.

Round 6 (Saturday May 27): Orange CYMS v Orange Hawks at Wade Park, Wellington Cowboys v Macquarie Raiders at Wellington; (Sunday May 28): Dubbo CYMS v Nyngan Tigers at Apex Oval, Bathurst Panthers v Lithgow Wolves at Carrington Park, Mudgee Dragons v Bathurst St Pats at Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex, Parkes Spacemen v Forbes Magpies at Pioneer Oval.

PMP ladder – Group 10: Mudgee Dragons 10, Bathurst St Pats 6, Orange Hawks 4, Bathurst Panthers 4, Lithgow Wolves 0, Orange CYMS 0; Group 11: Dubbo CYMS 8, Parkes Spacemen 8, Nyngan Tigers 6, Forbes Magpies 5, Wellington Cowboys 4, Macquarie Raiders 3.

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