Orange Hawks' Lachie Lawson will never forget his under 18s debut with the Western Rams.
Not only did the 17-year-old start in the centres during the Laurie Dailey Cup opener, a 24-10 win over the Illawarra South Coast Dragons at Cowra, he played in a very special number 18 jersey.
It would usually be the number four for Lawson but on the weekend, the men in green retired the jersey as they honoured the late Mason Pollack.
And not only will Lawson and the under 18s play for Pollack every time they pull on a Rams jersey, so will the whole club.
"Every time we put on that jersey, we're going to think of Mase," he said.
"Once you're in the Rams system you're family, and he'll always be remembered by that jersey.
"We all put in for Mase and he deserves that."
It's never easy stepping up to a different age bracket as that was Lawson's first hit-out against the big boys.
"The team welcomed me in, but it's a bit different playing in that age with the bigger boys and what not," he said.
"I'll take a few games to get used to it and adapt.
"I was happy with how I played but I still want to improve my defence and work on making better decisions and shutting things down quicker."
According to Lawson, coach Kurt Hancock was pleased with the performance.
"We probably need to fix the errors we made but he was happy," he said.
The under 18s will travel to Leighton in round two for a battle with Riverina, a side they knocked off in the pre-season.
In the under 16s game, an error-riddled Rams side lost to the Dragons by 22 points.
Coach Tony Woolnough expressed his distaste towards the result.
"It's very disappointing, we didn't train like that, that's not what we were about and we can be a whole lot better than that. We made too many errors," he said.
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