Everywhere you look in the Group 11 finals series there’s experienced players and coaches with a winning mentality.
From the likes of Tim Ryan and Luke Jenkins at CYMS to the highly-respected Jake Grace at Forbes, bush footy legend Dennis Moran and Group 11 premiership winners Zac Rennick, Matt Lane and Josh Merritt at Macquarie, every club has reason to be confident at this time of year.
But possibly the most confident is the Nyngan Tigers.
Stewart Mills came in this season and immediately instilled a new level of toughness and maturity at the Tigers and the side heads into Sunday’s home qualifying final against the Forbes Magpies in a great place.
“I think we’re up and playing our best footy,” Mills said.
“We’ve had a few good games coming in but now it’s semis and we need to keep it going.”
As many Nyngan players and coaches before him have said, Mills stated a lot of the side’s success is down to the fanatical is supports from the town of roughly 2,000 people.
The atmosphere at Larkin Oval is expected to be electric on Sunday afternoon when the Tigers and Magpies battle for the right to play CYMS in the major semi-final.
“There’s a bit of a buzz around town and it’s really good the way the whole town has got behind us,” Mills said, the captain-coach quickly becoming a hero out west.
“And we really do appreciate all the support.”
Mills added playing at home against a Forbes side which defeated CYMS in the final round was a “massive help”.
The Tigers beat CYMS a week prior, dominating the middle of the park with a powerful performance before the Magpies replicated that effort against the Fishies.
It is no surprise then the battle up front has been labelled the key area of Sunday’s match.
“I think that’s where the footy will be played,” Mills said, before speaking about his own pack’s performances this year.
“I’m over the moon as to how the forwards have been going in attack and defence,” he said.
“Our starting front rowers set the platform and then the blokes coming off the bench keep it going.”
Mills will line up again in the number six jersey, a place he has settled in recently after starting the year in the back row.
“We’ve got some good partnerships going now,” he said.
“It’s good with me and (halfback) Jacob (Neill) there. Jacob organises things and I just play off the back of him so he makes my job easy.
“But everyone is going well.”
Sunday’s match is expected to start at 2.30pm.