They've come out of their Andrew Johns Cup clash as the walking wounded but the Western Rams' under 16s kicked off their campaign with an important, and impressive, win over Riverina at Forbes.
Off the back of two tries to Parkes Spacemen's Tom Miller and a blistering first half, the Rams claimed a 32-4 victory at Spooner Oval thanks to fill-in five-eighth Tom Negus of Cowra.
Starting five-eighth Nick Murphy was hit late in the opening 10 minutes of the clash and has a suspected broken collarbone, while Lachie Lawson ended with a badly corked thigh and Tallis Tobin finished with a bung wrist from the hotly-contested affair.
The hosts got off to a flyer to take the lead into half-time, but coach Tony Woolnough said after the break the Bulls locked horns with the Rams and ground the game down.
"We just couldn't get our hands on the ball in the first part of that second half," Woolnough said, now one game into his second campaign in charge of the Rams' under 16s.
"The boys dug in and defended really well and they stuck in ... we ground it out for a half."
He said after the "sloppy" opening part of the second stanza his Rams side sprung back into action and put a few late tries part the Riverina defence.
While the injuries will prove a concern for the Rams, and Woolnough said the squad would assess where they were at on Monday, he took heart from the performance of Cowra Magpies' gun Negus, who slotted into Murphy's role and is a strong chance to keep his place in the halves ahead of Western's trip to Canberra next weekend.
"He filled in that role and did a really good job in there," Woolnough said.
Meanwhile, the Laurie Daley Cup side also racked up a strong win, with three tries in the opening 10 minutes of their game - also against Riverina - to set up what was a resounding 42-16 win.
Hungry to go one better after losing the grand final last year, Orange Hawks star Mason Pollock joined Cody Lawson and Braye Porter on the board early at Spooner Oval.
Skipper Jack Hartwig, now in his third season with Western and a likely first grader with the Forbes Magpies in 2020, and Noah Ryan then scored twice each to bring the tally to 36-0 before the Bulls got on the board, while Lawson nailed five goals in the side's win.
Next week Western take on the Monaro Colts at Belconnen in Canberra.
The Colts suffered a 20-8 loss to the Greater Southern Region Tigers in the Johns Cup. Monaro's under 18s side proved it'll be a tough assignment for Western, thumping the Tigers 40-8.