Marty Jeffrey knows how it feels to win a Country Championship.
He might have only been 18 when Western Zone won the 2016/17 title but he was old enough to realise what an accomplishment it was and how much success at the top level meant to the region.
That 2016/17 squad featured Zone greats like Nick and Tim Berry and Jordan Moran, and the esteem they held Western in is something that's stayed with Jeffrey.
"I've been lucky enough to win a Country Championship and I saw what it meant to those guys," he said.
"To come into that side and be part of that just showed how strong Western Zone cricket is."
Jeffrey is one of three players in this season's squad which has previously won a championship.
Fellow Dubbo player Mitch Bower and Bathurst's Ryan Peacock are the others title-winners who will be in action for Western in the southern pool carnival at Goulburn from Friday.
Both Jeffrey and Bower have returned after being unavailable for selection last season.
That 2019/20 campaign was one of Western's most disappointing in some time as they failed to win a single game.
But Jeffrey said the return of players like former NSW Country representative Bower and the determination to return Western to the summit of bush cricket bodes well for his side.
"I'm really enjoying my cricket and looking to go to that next stage," Jeffrey said.
"I enjoy playing with that extra bit of competitiveness. Everyone is there to win.
"This year a few have put their hand up and want to bring that tradition back to Western Zone. That blue baggy means a lot."
Jeffrey and Bower are expected to feature in the top order for Western while the former will again be expected to get through a number of overs with his leg-spin, having collected a five-wicket haul for the side in a win over Central Northern two seasons ago.
The RSL-Colts captain has been in solid form in club cricket, with a 49 not out in round one followed by hails of 3/26 and 4/35.
Jeffrey and Bower form the Dubbo contingent in the squad alongside all-rounder Mat Skinner and the hard-hitting Ben Wheeler.
This is Skinner's second season in a baggy blue while Wheeler is one of three debutants in the squad, the others being Orange all-rounder Hugh Le Lievre and Bathurst teenager Bailey Brien.
Jameel Qureshi, one of six Bathurst-based players in the squad, is the captain.
Western starts its campaign on Friday against Greater Illawarra at Prell Oval.
The Illawarra outfit downed Western by 65 runs in a commanding showing in the opening round of last year's championship.
That put Western on the back foot immediately in the race for the southern pool's top spot and passage through to the championships final.
"I think every year a lot of sides come home strong on day two or three but if you can jag a win early it can be really important," Jeffrey added.
"You've got to be up for it."
The opening match is followed by weekend meetings with Riverina and ACT Southern Districts.
- WESTERN: Jameel Qureshi (c), Imran Qureshi, Bailey Brien, Ryan Peacock, Connor Slattery, Mitch Taylor (Bathurst), Mitch Bower (vc), Marty Jeffrey, Mat Skinner, Ben Wheeler (Dubbo), Hugh Le Lievre, Ed Morrish (Orange), Myles Smith, Brent Tucker (Parkes)