Forbes halfback Matt Roylance was as happy as any Magpie following last year’s breakthrough Group 11 first grade premiership.
But the feeling was a touch bitter sweet.
The veteran pivot played every game for the black and white during the regular season before snapping his right Achilles tendon a week out from the semi-finals.
Naturally, the injury ruled the 29-year-old out for the remainder of the season, Forbes going on to sweep the semis and claim a gripping 26-22 upset grand final win over the previously undefeated Dubbo CYMS and end a premiership drought that extended back to 1987.
“It’s one of those things,” Roylance said looking back.
“I don’t think there would have been anyone happier than myself at Dubbo watching the boys win it.
“Of course there’s the feeling of wanting to be out there with the boys ... but if I had the choice of playing and losing it or not playing and the boys winning it, I’d definitely take the latter.”
It’s that sort of selfless attitude that has Forbes ideally placed to give this year’s competition a serious shake.
The Magpies knocked off minor premiers Dubbo CYMS 18-12 in last week’s final round clash at Spooner Oval to finish the regular season third.
The top three berth booked Jake Grace’s side a spot in Sunday’s qualifying semi-final at Nyngan’s Larkin Oval, where the Magpies will take on a Tigers outfit the black and whites are yet to beat in 2017.
We make no excuses.Magpies half Matt Roylance
A 28-16 and 24-16 wins in at Nyngan and then Forbes respectively suggest the Tigers head into the opening week of the finals as favourites.
The fact Forbes makes the trip to Larkin Oval minus influential forwards Mitch Davis (knee) and Ben Maguire (knee), the latter out for the season, also weighs against the premiers.
But Roylance says there’s no excuses. His side isn’t looking for any either.
“Two big losses, won’t lie … but we make no excuses. The boys coming in fill those rolls straight away and get the job done,” he said.
“Between the Parkes and CYMS games, it’s hardened us up for some semi-finals footy.”
Roylance said it was captain-coach Jake Grace leading his side’s charge.
“He’s one of the best (coaches) I’ve played under. What he preaches to the team he’s out there each week doing as well. He’s determined and passionate and gives 100 per cent and that’s what we try and do for him,” Roylance said.
The dependable half believes the key to Forbes knocking off Nyngan – the only other team to beat CYMS in 2017 – is keeping things simple.
Roylance added he has a point to prove after returning from a broken thumb in the second clash with Nyngan but producing, by his own admission, a sub-par performance.
“I’m looking forward to fixing that up and putting in a better show,” he said.
Forbes takes on Nyngan from 2pm on Sunday, the winner earning the right to play CYMS in the major semi-final the following week.