At the start of 2021, Jack Nobes had designs on leading Cowra in Group 10's top grade.
And while few players, thanks mainly to COVID-19, in any competition right across NSW enjoyed the sort of season they'd first hoped, Nobes' campaign took an unexpected swing.
Switching to CYMS - "once I'd convinced my fiance," Nobes says - helped the experienced rake go to a new level in 2021, leading the green and golds to the Group 10 premier league minor premiership.
And while COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns meant the business end of the season was abandoned, Nobes was still rewarded for his stellar season.
On Friday night, the 30-year-old took out CYMS' best and fairest award, joining an illustrious group of Group 10 players to take out the club's top gong.
It's a 10-month period Nobes isn't likely to forget in a hurry as he prepares to coach Cowra, his junior club, in the 2022 Group 10 season alongside another CYMS gun from last winter, Jack Buchanan.
I got an offer to come over and thought 'bugger it' ... I want to play first grade while I can.- Jack Nobes on linking with CYMS
"I was committed to Cowra and things didn't work out. I was just going to play reserve grade but I got an offer to come over and thought 'bugger it' ... I want to play first grade while I can," Nobes said.
"I looked at the size of pack the pack we had and once I'd convinced the fiance I was all good."
Nobes was shocked to win the club's best and fairest. He says the likes of former NRL player Buchanan and CYMS' juniors Jo Duffy and Lachie Munro were "outstanding" for the club on its way to the top of the Group 10 ladder come season's end.
Buchanan ended up taking out the premier league players' player award, while Adam Stanford won the most improved and Fijian sensation Joe Lasagavibau claimed the coach's award.
Nobes says spending the year travelling over to CYMS training and to games alongside Buchanan has strengthened their relationship heading into next season, where they'll coach the Magpies together.
The pair will be in charge of Cowra's return campaign in the top grade, and it's a challenge Nobes says the pair is ready to tackle.
"We get along really well. Being front-row and hooker we have to know each other a bit, but it's worked out well," Nobes said.
"From what I've heard and seen, Cowra probably bonded better in reserve grade (in 2021). Cowra went close (to a premiership in 2018) and then probably bought too many players and people lost interest. The culture probably got away from them a few years ago.
"It is harder with small towns, and Woodbrigde Cup being close, and a few of the reserve graders might not have wanted to play first grade ... but they've bonded last year and we should be able to welcome a few boys back. We're looking forward to it."
Across the lower grades, Kaiden Dickson (under 18s), Pat Williams (first division), Brigette Jasprizza (league tag) and Olivia Collins and Georgie Barrett (under 18s league tag) took out best and fairest honours.
While in the perpetual awards, Addison Williams won rookie of the year, Kaiden Dickson took out the most consistent player award, Kaden Williams and Hope Gibson shared the most valuable player, the club's coach's award went to Mandy Moore, CYMS' spirit award was won by Rhys Draper, junior clubperson of the year was Lucy Warner, the Des Morrisey gong was shared between Daniel Mortimer and Anthony Redfern and Sam Warner won the COBRA - the CYMS Old Boys Recognition Award.
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