St Pat's have been dealt a tricky draw for the Bathurst Panthers Knockout, the boys in blue and white drawn to face last year's minor premiers Cowra Magpies in the quarter finals on Friday night.
Both teams have recruited well in the summer, Cowra bringing in Lewis Dwyer from Parkes, Claude Gordon from Dubbo Westside and Logan Harris from Newcastle, but St Pat's have picked up one of the major signings of the off-season with Luke Branighan. from Oberon.
Branighan will captain-coach St Pat's in 2019 and he will be joined by fellow Oberon recruit Mickey Hawkings, who will start on the bench, and Traie Merritt, from Forbes, who has been named as one of the two starting second-rowers.
Branighan said it'll be a difficult task against Cowra, as he labelled the Magpies as one of the team's to beat for this year's Group 10 premier league season.
"We've got a really tough task first up, against possibly the favourites to take out the competition," he said.
"I think the competition is fairly open but I think they'd have to be up there and no doubt they'll be around come September.
"It'll be a good game to see where we're at but at the same time, with the short format, anything can happen."
Branighan has played in two Bathurst Panthers Knockout for Oberon, claiming the runners-up tag in 2017 and 2018.
He'll be hoping he'll go one better in 2019 and with what he's seen in pre-season, there's plenty of good signs that his side might just do that.
"Pre-season has been fantastic and the boys have all put in, with great attitude," he said.
If St Pat's can knock off Cowra and Oberon get over Orange Hawks, it would set up a reunion for Branighan against his former team in the semi-final, having played for the Tigers in past two seasons.
St Pat's versus Cowra kicks off at 8.35pm on Friday at Carrington Park.
- ST PAT'S: 1 Jordan Naylor, 2 Michael Latu, 3 Mitch Squires, 4 Chris Kirby, 5 Adam Booth, 6 Luke Branighan, 7 Gary Reilly, 8 Greg Behan, 9 Benji John, 10 Jack Mackey, 11 Brent Dennis, 12 Traie Merrit, 13 McCoy White, 14 Zac Merritt, 15 Mick Hawkings, 16 Hudson White, 17 Aidan Kilburn