In just over a week's time, the Goulburn Bulldogs will play two pre-season matches against the Canberra Raiders Under 20s side and the Fiji Central Falcons.
It marks the beginning of a season which will bear significant change for the Bulldogs, who, through retirement and injury, farewelled several key players at the end of 2019.
But head coach Adam Kyle is confident the Bulldogs are as well-placed as they have ever been.
"The guys that are coming into the squad this year are players that have played a lot of first grade," Kyle said.
"They bring their own capabilities to our side, and they also bring some different skills that we haven't had in the last couple of years.
"A couple of these guys are fantastic offloaders, big work rates, things that we haven't had in the past. I think it's really exciting for us as a squad moving forward, and they'll be working with the best spine in country rugby league."
Two of the players expected to arrive in the Bulldogs' ranks are Fijian imports, who will take part in the match between the Bulldogs and the Falcons.
Given the sheer physicality he expects from the Fijians, Kyle expects the match to be both entertaining and informative, and he confirmed the Bulldogs will approach the game as "a bit of a club trial".
"Our first grade side will play probably half the game, and we'll provide an opportunity for our reserve grade and Under 19s to have a hit-out as well.
"It'll be a really good opportunity for us to fine-tune a couple of things before the West Wyalong."
The West Wyalong Knockout is described by the Bland Shire Council as the "most prestigious pre-season prize" in Country Rugby League, which will pit 15 teams against one another over the course of two days later this month.
The Bulldogs' victory in the knockout last year kick-started their Canberra Region Rugby League campaign, which eventually resulted in a grand final berth.
This year, Kyle hopes to take the squad into the pre-season tournament with the best possible preparation.
He intends to use the match against the Raiders as an opportunity to sharpen up the side.
"It's a very good challenge, and it was something that gave us an opportunity to see what our structure looked like against some really fit young players," Kyle said.
"It also gave us a bit of confidence too, we played really well and put on a few tries against them. That'll be something we take a lot out of against the West Wyalong."
The Goulburn Bulldogs will play the Canberra Raiders Under 20s on Wednesday, February 12, from 6pm. This will be followed by a clash against the Fiji Central Falcons on Saturday, February 15 from 4pm.
Saturday's fixture will then be followed by a game between the Raiders Under 20s and the St George Illawarra Dragons Under 20s at 6pm. All matches will be played at the Goulburn Workers Arena.
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