Colby Pellow, pictured in action for the Rams last year, will again feature in the halves on Saturday. Photo: Phill MurrayIT was 2003 when Darren Jackson made his debut for Western Division against Southern at Camden.

Fast forward 13 years and on Saturday Jackson will make his Western coaching debut against the same opposition at the same location.

“We got a win by six, won by a try I think so that might be a good omen,” he laughed.

While it may be his first game in charge of the Rams, there is no doubt Jackson and his side are prepared for the occasion.

In October of last year the former Cobar and Macquarie star named a 99-man squad for a pre-season program he designed to give the Rams the best chance of success at the AAMI Country Championship.

The Rams meet a Southern Stars side loaded with big names in the Tier 2 clash on Saturday with the winner advancing to the semi-finals at Dubbo the following weekend.

Jacob Loko, who had an NRL contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs as recently as last season, headlines the Stars squad.

Jake Mullaney, who played for Parramatta briefly in the NRL and was playing in the English Super League for the Bradford Bulls last season, will captain the side from five-eighth while fellow former NRL players Michael Lett and Ray Cashmere will also run out against the Rams.

“They’ll be hard to beat and back when I was playing sides had ex-NRL players but it doesn’t matter,” Jackson said.

“Whoever you play in one of these Division matches will be tough so I’m not too concerned about them.”

The Rams have had two training sessions since the final squad was announced earlier this month.

Dubbo CYMS speedster Kieran Cubby-Shipp was the player to miss out from the 18-man squad but Fishies team-mates Jyie Chapman, Colby Pellow and Jarryn Powyer made the cut.

Jackson stated it was pleasing to have two halves, Pellow and Nyngan Tiger Jacob Neill, who were so familiar with each other’s game while added forwards Luke Thompson, Brendan Tago, Jake Grace and Brent Seager had all impressed him in training.

Pellow and Neill have worn the six and seven numerous times together for Group 11 but only Pellow made the Rams side last year which was beaten 48-40 by the Greater Northern Tigers.

That loss condemned Western to another year in Tier 2 of the Country Championships and Jackson is determined to see this year’s match produce far less points.

The coach stated his approach to the game was fairly basic and something the players could easily pick up but admitted, like in any big game, defence was crucial.

“Teams with good defence, especially in bush footy, win 90 per cent of the time,” he said.

“Everyone in the bush can score but some have trouble defending.”

Saturday’s match kicks off at 1pm at Camden’s Kirkham Oval.

WESTERN RAMS: 1 Sam Dwyer (Parkes), 2 Riccie Arriola (Oberon), 3 Warren Williams (Cowra), 4 Jyie Chapman (Dubbo CYMS), 5 Kotoni Staggs (Wellington), 6 Colby Pellow (Dubbo CYMS), 7 Jacob Neill (Nyngan), 8 Brent Seager (Bathurst Panthers), 9 Reece Goldsmith (Nyngan), 10 Luke Thompson (Narromine), 11 Ben Maguire (Forbes), 12 Brendan Tago (Parkes), 13 Jake Grace (Forbes), 14 Blake Lawson (Bathurst Panthers), 15 Jarryn Powyer (Dubbo CYMS), 16 Ashley Hazelton (Gilgandra), 17 Brandan West (Lithgow)

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