There's been plenty of change at Dubbo CYMS during the off-season so the chance to get back on the park earlier than every other Group 11 club is perfect, according to captain-coach Jarryn Powyer.
The Fishies' 2020 season will start earlier than most clubs in bush footy as they take on the Moree Boomerangs in the opening round of the Challenge Cup at Apex Oval on Saturday night.
Powyer's side has had just the couple of training runs and only one of those was with the ball in hand, but the skills on show and final result on Saturday is far from the skipper's mind.
He sees the statewide competition as a golden opportunity for his much-changed side to get valuable minutes together before the Group 11 season begins in late April.
Saturday's squad will feature a handful of players who have made the step up from juniors and they're in line for plenty of game time this year following a number of off-season departures.
Alex Ronayne, a fan favourite at CYMS and someone who captained the side regularly last year, is the most high-profile of those.
He made the switch to crosstown rivals Macquarie and has taken a number of former teammates with him.
"Any time there's player movement its exciting," Powyer said.
"Sometimes it's easy to get complacent and maybe that could have been so for 'Akka' [Ronayne] but there's spots to fill and we've got plenty of young fellas, in particular."
Aiden Lake and Kyjuan Crawford are two youngsters set to start on Saturday and they'll be joined in the lineup by off-season recruits Isaac Gordon, Jack Kavanagh, Claude Gordon, Brody Chapman, and Eric Fernando.
A number of ex-juniors will also start on the bench, alongside the returning duo of Mark Merritt and Kelevi Ralulu.
"There's not much expectation," Powyer, who is sitting out the game, said.
"I know we've made the [Challenge Cup] final the last two years but it's never something we really talk about.
"It brings the boys together. You can train as much as you want but you don't start syncing until you're out on the field."
The numerous dust storms which have hit the region in recent times forced Powyer to delay the start of pre-season but he's liked what he's seen in the couple of sessions which have been possible.
Former Queensland Cup player Kavanagh has added plenty of size and intensity to the squad, while Brody and Hayden Chapman and Merritt have also made their presence known early.
"We've got some solid hitters. There's a bit of wright there," Powyer said, having felt the brunt of the Chapmans when running into the during Thursday's hit-out.
"Everyone has been on point."
Despite the ins and outs at the club, a number of regulars will still feature on Saturday.
Jyie Chapman, Alex Bonham, Ben Marlin, Wade Kavanagh, Billy Sing, and Corey Cox have all been named to start the match against the Boomerangs.
"I think they'll be a tough side," Powyer said of the opposition.
"I don't really know anything about them but I'm pretty sure they've played a lot of knockout footy and their league side would be very similar.
"I think they'll be fairly cohesive this time of year and there'll be a lot of passion. They won't travel down just for a throw around, they'll be fired up and it will be a great test for us."
The match is one of 10 Challenge Cup opening round fixtures this weekend but the only one featuring a side from Group 11 or Group 10.
Castlereagh League premiers, the Coonabarabran Unicorns, travel to take on Western Suburbs Newcastle.
Kick-off is 6pm at Apex Oval.
- DUBBO CYMS: 1 Aiden Lake, 2 Eric Fernando, 3 Jyie Chapman, 4 Isaac Gordon, 5 Kyjuan Crawford, 6 Claude Gordon, 7 Alex Bonham, 8 Ben Marlin, 9 Wade Kavanagh, 10 Jack Kavanagh, 11 Billy Sing, 12 Brody Chapman, 13 Corey Cox, 14 Jordi Madden, 15 Sullivan Haycock, 16 Jack Allen, 17 Jayden Merritt, 18, Hayden Chapman, 19 Mark Merritt, 20 Kelevi Ralulu