Alex Ronayne thinks Macquarie will field the best forward pack in Group 11 next season and, in a further warning to his rivals, expects more new faces to arrive at the club.
The Raiders have been busy in recent weeks, locking in a number of returning players for next season while adding a number of major new signings.
Former Dubbo CYMS prop and Group 10 premiership winner Nick Harvey and former Wellington star Richard Peckham are the latest to join, adding even more muscle to the pack.
Former NSW Country junior representative Clayton Couley has also signed on and Oliver Gordon, a front-rower who spent time in the Bulldogs' junior grades and played professionally in England with Workington Town, is also set to join while captain-coach Ronayne has hinted at further additions which could "surprise".
"We're chasing a couple of spots and we'll nearly have the best forward pack in the competition," he said.
"It's very exciting. Rob Mafi has signed again so it's going to be a good pack and we just can't wait to go out there and show Macquarie is back and show our fans we're ready to win."
Mafi was one of a number of players who were signed in a major recruitment drive in the lead-up to the 2020 season, which was to be Ronayne's first at the helm after making the move crosstown from CYMS.
Then COVID struck and the season was cancelled but the Raiders have retained most of the players signed, including Jordan Reynolds, Matt Naden, Viliame Turuva, Matt Toole, Mose Esera, and Mafi.
Youngsters Caden Gordon, Blaine Gordon, and Randel Dowling have also signed on while Jade Hooper, Lindsay Thurgate, and Tyler Bamblett will also spend 2021 with the Raiders.
Motivation remains high among the group, which is eager to help Macquarie climb the ladder after a number if disappointing seasons.
"Everyone who's signed has said they're keen to get into it," Ronayne said.
"There's not many who played this year, I was one of the lucky ones who did, but they're all keen and I'm getting messages all the time."
Despite no Group 11, Ronayne's winter was still busy as he spent the season with Gilgandra in the Castlereagh League while he also represented the Western Rams in the President's Cup and most recently played in the Tribal League.
He will start pre-season work with his Raiders, again assisted by Peter Gibbs, in the New Year.