THEY have won five games in a row, have beaten each of their Blowes Clothing Cup rivals and their for and against record is far superior, but the Bathurst Bulldogs are still being tested.
As he often said last season following the adoption of a two-tier Central West senior competition, Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley has again stressed there are no easy games.
Not only are players having to maintain their intensity for longer to find success each week, they are being tested physically on a more consistent basis.
"The physicality of these games really is the key point I think, every single team we play against, you know you've played a really hard game," Oxley said.
"In previous years you'd have games that are a little bit easier and you could just run through those like they were a training run - that doesn't exist any more. We have to turn up.
"We've got a number of younger players in this squad, not as many as we had last year, but they're still there and are still learning on how to maintain the focus throughout the 80 minutes, let alone throughout a season."
READ MORE: Bulldogs scrape past a gallant Cowra
So given things have gotten more demanding, how have the Bulldogs managed to go undefeated through the first round of matches? According to Oxley preparation and hard work on the training paddock has been critical.
"We trained really hard in the pre-season to get the sort of start we've got for the club, it comes down the strength and conditioning team and the work they put in to get the players ready," he said.
"[Now] We are working hard to make sure the boys don't drop their guard."