MORGAN Brooking and his Sydney University Rowing Club side won the Australian Boat Race on their home waters in 2018 but now they want to get the better of their Melbourne University rivals on the Yarra River.
For the second year running Central West Tablelands Rowing Club graduate and Bathurst student Brooking has earned a place on the Sydney squad of eight to contest the 11th edition of the event.
Sydney will be hoping to continue their dominant form against Melbourne this Saturday.
The Sydney students lead the race 8-2 since its inauguration and they have high hopes of extending that gap.
While the race hasn't quite built up the prestige of the Oxford-Cambridge boat race it bases itself on, the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry adds extra intensity to an already exciting race.
"I'm really happy to be back in it after we won last year in Sydney," Brooking said.
"We've got five members from last year's team back in, two debutants and another who's been in the team before but didn't go last year. Overall it's a great squad with a lot of experience."
Brooking is backing his team to defend their crown.
"I'm expecting it to be a really tight race, especially being in the Yarra River instead of Sydney Harbour ... but we're feeling confident," he said.
"You've definitely got to be switched on and it's one of those races where the experience of your coxswain counts for a lot."
The race starts at midday, with crews racing 4.1 kilometres from Burnley to the heart of the city, with hundreds of spectators expected to line the river banks.
A new feature of this year's race is the 'novice race', which will see mixed teams from both universities competing. Each member is in their first year of competitive rowing.
The two rowing clubs first met informally on the Yarra River in 1860. A decade later the competition had become a regular feature of university life, and it was revitalised in 2009.
You can also keep up to date on the event by following the hashtag #AusBoatRace on Instagram and Twitter.
Next year the Universities of Melbourne and Sydney will celebrate the 150th anniversary of intervarsity sport in Australia.
All the action will be streamed live at: www.australianboatrace.com.