This season the Dubbo representative program will welcome back a number of star players, genuine competition for spots, and hopefully the return of a home grand final.
After plenty of uncertainty in recent times due to the COVID lockdown, the representative schedule for the 2021/22 season has been locked in.
Dubbo will start its Western Zone Premier League campaign with a bumper clash with fierce rivals Bathurst on November 28.
The two sides have been the powerhouses of the competition in recent times, with Bathurst getting the better of Dubbo in two of the past three deciders while the other finished in a thrilling tie.
Mid West has withdrawn from the WZPL this season but Dubbo will still also play Cowra, Parkes, and Orange.
Toppling Bathurst is one major goal this season and there's plenty happening behind the scenes to help try and make that happen.
Mat Skinner, last season's captain, will be joined in something of a leadership group this season by Marty Jeffrey, Jacob Hill, and Thomas Nelson.
The quartet will do much of the organising and planning for the WZPL season but they've also got one eye on the Brewery Shield.
The Brewery Shield has largely been used for player development in recent seasons, with a couple of older head mentoring teenage players in matches against Narromine, Wellington, Nyngan, and Cobar.
"We're trying to make it a genuine second XI now," Skinner said of Brewery Shield.
"Before it was mainly an under 18s team with the older heads but the idea is to try and hopefully have a second XI so if you play Brewery Shield and perform well there you'll get the chance to come up, rather than picking blokes from outside it."
A number of players who featured in the WZPL last season might find themselves in the Brewery Shield this summer.
Change is expected in the premier squad, with a number of players either staying in Dubbo or returning home to bolster the lineup.
Australian Indigenous representatives Ben Patterson and Brock Larance, who were playing NSW Premier Cricket in Sydney last season, are the two biggest names who will be back while former Dubbo captain Mitch Bower is expected to feature more in the WZPL after only sporadic appearances in recent times.
"Everyone is really keen to have a crack and there's a few extra blokes back this year so we should be looking pretty good," Skinner said.
"The quality is good, and that always helps. If you've got good quality you're a lot more likely to attract more players to play because they want to be in that team.
"Patto and Brock Larance, they add mountains of quality to our team ... Mitch came back last year and there's three big wigs, and then there's other blokes who have been there and done the job."
Giving the recent restrictions and uncertainty around COVID, a representative squad and training program is yet to be announced but is expected in the coming week.
Regardless of who is there for the WZPL round one clash with Bathurst at No. 1 Oval on November 28, Skinner knows there won't be any lack of motivation.
"I always like playing Bathurst," Skinner said.
"They're always good games and they're a very competitive crew. They've had the wood on us the last few games so it would be nice to have guys like Patto and Brock and hopefully knock them off and then get that home final we've been wanting.
"But there's a lot to happen before you can think about that stuff."
- DUBBO WZPL SCHEDULE: Bathurst (home, November 28), bye (December 19), Parkes (away, January 16), Cowra (home, January 23), Orange (away, February 27).