"I'm so keen, so pumped."
You can't wipe the smile off Zak Symons' face ahead of the Orange Eagles' first Waratah league game.
The Blayney product leapt at the chance to play for Orange when the state-level side was announced in November last year, and despite a hastily thrown together pre-season, he's raring to go.
We just want to come out of the gates and show people we're not messing around.Zak Symons
At the Eagles' final training session before their round one clash with Dubbo, Symons said there was "a bit of nostalgia" coming back to Orange to play after spending years in Bathurst with the Goldminers.
"It's a good feeling," he said.
Skipper Mitch Selwood addressed players on Thursday, telling them about the honour of playing the Eagles' debut at the top level, having spoken last month about the exciting chance to forge the club's culture from scratch.
Symons said the side was focused on being as competitive as possible.
"We just want to come out of the gates and show people we're not messing around," he said.
"We're the first Orange Eagles state league team so it's the start of something big."
How the side fares on the field remains to be seen, having not won the license to play until very late, forcing Craig Harvey and his committee to throw the senior club together from scratch in a few short months, a feat that's hard to overstate.
On the court, Symons lauded the work of Selwood in bringing the side together.
"He's a leader," Symons said of his skipper.
"I've played with him for a few years in the local comp and he takes control, does what you need him to do."
His teammate Kobe Mansell is Orange born and bred, and is relishing the chance to play games on home soil instead of travelling to and from Bathurst.
"It was pretty good considering less travel and home games are here, they're a good bunch of boys and it should be a good season," he said.
We should put up a good fight for the first round, we've come together well so it should be a good game.Kobe Mansell
He'll play a flexible role for the side, switching between point guard, shooting forward and small forward, but will play "wherever it's needed".
Mansell said having the development squad train with the side was promising for Eagles juniors looking to push into senior basketball.
"It would have been good if there was state league earlier, would have been better for me with more training time," he said.
He's excited for the club's first home game in round four, with big things planned to bring a sizeable home crowd to Sir Neville Howse stadium.
While the unconfirmed music and entertainment will be a drawcard, Mansell said he was hoping the team's determination would be its trademark which was going to be started on Saturday night in Dubbo.
"We should put up a good fight for the first round, we've come together well so it should be a good game," he said.
"We haven't been together for too long but it's come together really nice."
The Waratah League clash between Dubbo Rams and Orange Eagles begins at 5pm at the Woolshed.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...