Pre-season plans might have taken a hit but the motivation with RSL-Colts heading into the new RSL-Whitney Cup season burns bright.
The defending premiers, like every other club in the region, have been unable to start their build-up to the fast-approaching season as the ongoing lockdown has stopped any chance of training sessions.
It could result in plenty of rust being on show in the opening rounds of the new season, but Colts captain Marty Jeffrey feels his side would be as well-placed as anyone to deal with a potentially interrupted start.
As well as being the defending premiers, Colts possess a wealth of experience with the likes of Jeffrey, Brad Cox, Chris Morton, Jason Ryan, and Mitch Bower having played a huge amount of cricket in a variety of circumstances.
That knowledge could be vital early on in the new Dubbo District Cricket Association season if the skills are a little underdone.
"In a normal season the first month of the season is about dusting off the cobwebs so I think with this extra time away and a lot of blokes probably not training by themselves, it will come back to the cricket brains and the experienced guys might come into the game more," Jeffrey said.
The experienced guys might come into the game more.Marty Jeffrey
"How you play the game will play a part more than the ability of players. That's something that could work to our advantage if we get the season up off the ground.
"We've got a lot of experienced guys."
While some of those older players are now closer to the ends of their career than the start, Jeffrey doesn't expect any dip in motivation.
The likes of Cox, Morton, Ryan, and Ben Taylor were all vital during the run to yet another first grade premiership last season, but a new focus helps maintain the desire.
While the core group has been a part of successful Colts sides for the best part of two decades now, a number of younger players were given a chance in the top grade last season.
Anthony Atlee quickly developed into a key figure in the middle order while Riley Keen and Preston Beauchamp were among those also given a taste of RSL-Whitney Cup action.
Jeffrey is keen to see those players kick again in the summer while he also wants more youngsters to step up.
"We've been successful over a long period of time but we've really tried to shift the focus to juniors and make sure there's a good pathway coming through," Jeffrey said.
"I think that's something we're really focused on again.
"In the past couple of years we've built strong culture within the team off the field and there's a good core group of guys again so it adds to the motivation.
"You want to have success with the same guys and even guys like Sticks [Morton] and Brad have been playing some of the best cricket they've played, so that gives them the drive to not slow down and keep having success with the young guys coming through.
"They want to show them what success looks like so the drive is still there."
Some difficult decisions could face Jeffrey in the coming seasons as the younger players develop more and put pressure on the established lineup that has become synonymous with the RSL-Whitney Cup.
It's something he's ready to handle though as he wants up-and-coming players to create that pressure.
"As long as I'm in the position of captain I'll say I'll make tough decisions of who should be in the side," he said.
The exact structure of the new season is yet to be confirmed as COVID in the region and restrictions could dictate plans.
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