It's been a long and at times winding road, but all systems are go ahead of the Western Rams women and the kick-off to their Country Championships season.
One of the few areas of the sport that was largely untouched by COVID-19 restrictions, the women's tackle competition across the western zone has quickly become a hotbed for emerging talent and coach Jess Skinner is eager to see that work continue.
"Our girls and everyone are definitely looking forward to it, COVID did prevent a lot last year, but mainly in the League Tag side of things out here," Skinner said.
"We got our Country Champs season in before the shut-down and we were lucky enough to get to run the Western Women's competition at the end of the year, so the tackle side of things has done fairly well."
That straight run of form for most of the side will be a benefit coming into a season where a number of region's won't have seen any time on field for the previous year.
"We've been in action almost since September, so we've been pretty privileged to not have to can the tackle component in the area," Skinner said.
"It's been a really good lead in to this campaign so far."
A number of more experienced players will return to the side, but the selection process has been made even more difficult thanks to the addition of a number of talented young guns like Dubbo CYMS' Maddy Chapman.
"We have a lot of the girls who have been there for a couple of years now, I'd call them my experienced girls, but then we have those younger girls, like Chapman, who are coming up through the system," Skinner said.
"A lot of them are making our 2019 and 2020 Western Rams girls earn their jerseys, which is really exciting, we've never really had that before."
Among the returning faces are two-time premiership winning fullback Heidi Regan and Forbes product Kaitlyn Andrews.
"Back in 2017, we were trying to find enough girls for a 9s squad, and now I'm able to pick from 46 girls who are all showing up to train," Skinner said.
The squad has been training together since January, and will have at least a few more sessions ahead of the late February first round fixture against Monaro in Canberra.
"We're doing everything right off the field, people have been sacrificing a few days of the week to train, we've got a couple more sessions together before the kick-off, but we're getting there," Skinner said.
"We're just making sure everyone gels together, there are those new girls getting there we have to work into the squad, but it's definitely coming together."
With landscape looking so different from just a few years ago in terms of opportunity and ability, Skinner's excited to see what future holds for the side and it's players.
"To have girls like Kaitlyn and Lailee Phillips in the All Stars, or Taneka Todhunter over at the Roosters, and all the other success we've had in the past, it just shows what we can do," Skinner said.
"Imagine what we can do in another five years, the types of girls who'll be playing then, it definitely hasn't happened overnight, but it's something that happens so quickly."
"There's a few girls in this current squad that I have no doubt won't be back with us again next year because they'll get scouted by someone and picked up."
The Rams women side kick off their Country Championships campaign on Sunday, February 28 when they take on the Monaro side in an away fixture.
WESTERN RAMS SQUAD:
Kaitlin Andrews, Sarah Archer, Lilly Baker, Channy Burgess, Demi Chapman, Maddy Chapman, Alicia Earsman, Zarlia Griffiths, Kayla Hasson, Molly Hoswell, Nickita Kirby, Nickolle Kirby, Josiah Lautaimi, Jacky Lyden, Maddy Masman, Bridie McClure, Claudia McLaren, Harriet Messner, Heidi Regan, Tabua Tuinakauvadra.