Ask anyone in blue at Wade Park on Sunday and they'll tell you Rakai Tuheke is as valuable as they come.
Tough, quick feet and deceptively sharp, efficient and uncompromising, the 22-year-old has for the last 18 months probably been Orange Hawks' best player.
So it'll come as no surprise to the two blues faithful to know their bullocking backrower was last Friday crowned Western Rams' best and fairest as well.
Tuheke took out the main award at the Western Division presentation night last week, earning high praise from under 23s mentor Tim Ryan following a bumper representative campaign where the Rams won their first country championship match in the new age-capped tournament.
Mudgee rake Jack Beasley (players' player) and premiership-winning Forbes prop Ben Maguire (coach's award) were also recognised at the Rams dinner but Tuheke says he didn't expect to be in that company.
"I really wasn't expecting anything like that," Tuheke said of his best and fairest gong.
"I just went out there and played how I usually play. I just take it week-by-week."
And this week that lands him with the toughest challenge of Hawks' season to date.
The two blues host Group 10 defending premiers Bathurst Panthers at Wade Park on Sunday, the match Hawks' first on home soil this season.
We just need to improve on our defence and get back to the basics.Hawks backrower Rakai Tuheke.
The run of away games hasn't hurt Willie Heta's side though, if anything winning three from four to open the year will mean Hawks kick-off a four-game stretch of home games oozing with confidence.
But confidence isn't lacking at the undefeated Panthers either.
The men in black ended what was a promising 2018 premier league campaign for Hawks one game short of the grand final and Tuheke says the two blues are keen to turn that 38-22 result around on Sunday.
"They had a pretty good run towards the end there," he said, Panthers storming from fourth on the ladder to win the 2018 title.
"The boys have been training well during the week. I think we've improved a lot since last year and having Prouty (at hooker) and Pottsy back at lock has really tightened us up through the middle.
"We've got more direction this year. We just need to improve on our defence and get back to the basics."
Tuheke has switched sides this season and will link with Heta on Hawks' right edge on Sunday against Panthers.
It's a move the young kiwi is loving and he said if the two blues can remain relatively injury free in 2019 then there's no reason Hawks can't take another step forward come the business end of the season.
"We've got heaps of little niggles at the moment," he said, Matt Boss ruled out of Sunday's game with a hamstring tear, while Corey Brown hasn't been named at fullback for the second week in a row.
"I think all clubs are probably in the same boat."
Kick-off on Sunday is at 2.30pm, with under 18s league tag is the first match of the day, starting at 10am.
WESTERN AWARD WINNERS
BEST AND FAIREST: Rakai Tuheke
PLAYERS' PLAYER: Jack Beasley
COACH'S AWARD: Ben Maguire
BEST AND FAIREST and PLAYERS' PLAYER: Ben Lovett
COACH'S AWARD: Nathan Ward
BEST AND FAIREST: Heidi Regan
PLAYERS' PLAYER: Channy Burgess
COACH'S AWARD: Lailee Phillips
BEST AND FAIREST: Jackson Gersbach
PLAYERS' PLAYER: Finnley Neilsen
COACH'S AWARD: Braye Porter
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