THE finals ambitions of the St Pat's Group 10 premier league side received a gigantic boost on Thursday morning with the announcement of Abel Lefaoseu, Jackson Brien and Blake Fitzpatrick joining the Saints' 2020 squad.
Just landing one of the talented bunch would be a welcome signing for any club but all three making the switch to St Pat's is an off-season announcement of staggering proportions, and it will undoubtedly thrust the Saints into premiership discussions.
With poor numbers forcing the Oberon Tigers to leave Group 10 premier league it left their rivals scrambling to sign their top players.
The Saints' cross-city rivals and defending champions Bathurst Panthers got in first with the signing of outgoing coach Josh Starling but Pat's will be on cloud nine as they roll out the red carpet for Lefaoseu, Brien and Fitzpatrick.
Lefaoseu and Brien forged a dynamic centre pairing in their years with the Tigers, before the latter marked himself as a leading Western region fullback, and Fitzpatrick provides a reliable, flexible option across many positions.
Brien was the first of the three player to put pen to paper for the Saints on Wednesday afternoon, putting an end to the off season hunt for one of the competition's most dangerous backs.
Along with recent signing Lee McClintock, Brien is expected to play a big role in the upcoming season.
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"He's a class above. He's been such a loyal player for Oberon and he's a Western Rams representative. If Oberon were still in the comp I'm sure he would have stayed there next year," Pat's president Graham Ward said.
"We need outside backs. It's probably one of the areas where we lacked a bit last year.
"With Lee McClintock and Caleb Wardman we've got a lot of options there, and they're all happy to see what works with the team. I think Jackson prefers centre but he can play fullback."
Lefaoseu and Fitzpatrick made their moves official on Thursday.
The addition of Lefaoseu completes one of the most stacked back lines in Group 10 while Fitzpatrick has applied his trade at lock, hooker and fullback over the past few seasons.
It's a homecoming of sorts for Fitzpatrick who played his junior footy for the Saints.
"Blake's capable of playing halves, back row, hooker, anywhere," Ward said.
"Abel told me he came to Oberon as a front rower and then played in the centres for most of his time. He's an option in those spots as well.
"This is probably as good a back line as you're going to see in country rugby league, but it's still unproven at this stage."
Ward said the three new signings were determined to move to a new club as a collective.
"Location was a big thing," he said.
"It's only half an hour away, and we've adopted the rule this year that if you can't train then you can't play. We've had travellers for the last few years and it makes it hard on the local guys when those travelling players aren't turning up to training.
"Zac Merritt as a captain coach was a big attraction for them. They all realise what a great, solid player he is and as a coach we're hopeful he'll be the same. He's highly respected on and off the field."