Greater depth in Magpies' ranks
No stranger to the position of Cowra Magpies coach, Greg Clements is settling in quickly.
It has been a few years since his successful reign at the helm of the Magpies sides through the 90s and his most recent appointment in 2004.
But, a few phone calls to his broad network of rugby league allies and the support of Magpies under 18s and Western Rams coach Steve Sutton, has him back in full swing.
Having coached for 20 years, Clements brings experience to a young playing group that unearthed promise in 2012.
Bolstering the pool of talent are the familiar faces of Ron Lawrence, Tim Tobin and KJ Wood who have all returned to the club following a season of footy elsewhere.
The trio, together with exciting prospect Josh Rainbow, who has again called Cowra home, and the existing roster gives Clements a reason to feel positive about the year ahead.
"Lawrence and Tobin (Parkes) and KJ (Muswellbrook) were all in winning teams last year making semi-finals and finals," Clements said.
"Josh has come back from Sydney - played SG Ball and Toyota Cup with Canterbury and Cronulla - and was chosen in the emerging Blues squad.
"They have brought a winning attitude and mentality and some enthusiasm back to training and it's rubbing off on the younger blokes."
According to Clements, the Magpies focus has been on making sure players are available for training.
He concedes the unavailability of players mid-week for ball work sessions was disjointed and may have contributed to the inability to put sides away last year.
"Things are looking good at the moment," Clements said.
"The locals turning up is a start. We have to bring back that culture back and get everyone to training with no excuses. The good thing at the moment is that we have blokes wanting to go to training.
"We want players to turn up whether we are going good or bad - that's what we have to instil at the club."
First impressions are that the Magpies will have greater stock which increases the motivation within the club.
"We have blokes here from 17-30 (years old) that want to play first grade," Clements said.
"We haven't got a great deal of pressure on the first grade side, but we have more than we had last year which is a start. We missed that depth, especially when we went away last year and hopefully we won't struggle when tarvelling.
"Dan McGann, the reserve grade coach, has brought a few of his mates back which will help."
Magpies losses for the year from first grade seem limited at this stage.
Outside backs, Brad Wright and Grant Kitchingman, are likely to concentrate their energies on the final year of university, leaving the door ajar for players willing to step up.
The introduction of a limited interchange for Group 10 this year has sparked discussions around the clubs, but Clements believes it won't affect the Magpies.
"We've got a young side and they're pretty mobile," he said.
"The fellas that have come back to the club are pretty fit.
"In the bush, most of the better players are playing a full game anyway, so it's only a couple of the bigger fellas that might come in and out of the game.
"We've got a core of about 10 players who should be able to play a full game every week.
"I don't think most teams will use 12 interchanges - maybe teams like Cyms, who have a well-balanced squad of about 18, will bring them on and off, but the other clubs like us will probably just stick with that main 10 or so and bring one or two off."
The Magpies will focus their immediate attention on the West Wyalong Knockout which begins on Friday, February 22