IF St Pat's are to make a winning start to their 2020 Group 10 season then they're going to need their best football, as the recent release of the draw suggests a challenging path lies ahead.
The Saints will start their season with an away trip to face Lithgow Workies then return to Jack Arrow Sporting Complex for their next two matches against 2019 grand finalists Bathurst Panthers and Mudgee Dragons.
On top of that the Saints will travel to face Hawks in the fourth round before the general bye.
It's not the prettiest of opening months for St Pat's but it's going to be a great tester for how well their new recruits and returning faces can gel together and live up to their potential.
Pat's player-coach Zac Merritt is looking forward to the challenge.
"Workies always bring their A game wherever they play. They're a tough squad. I think that's a good way to start off the season. You want a tough one to get started and it sets us up for the year," he said.
"If we can get the win it sets us up for a strong season.
"We've put a mark against that ANZAC Day game [against Panthers]. We've pushed them over the last couple of games but this year we really want to knock them off."
Saints have made promising starts over the past few seasons but failed to convert those into finals runs.
Merritt said strong conditioning and consistent performances will be the two keys for Pat's over the early season.
"It's frustrating because we've shown a lot of promise in those first two to three games," he said of the past two years.
"Hopefully this year we can keep things going. We've signed some blokes that really want to win so fingers crossed we can stay healthy. That's on me and the other coaching staff to keep the boys up when we really need to get them up.
The opening half of the season will give St Pat's a 4-3 split in favour of home games.
Their matches at Jack Arrow in the opening half of the season will be against rivals Panthers, Dragons, Blayney Bears and Cowra Magpies.
Merritt said there's already excitement around the camp for the annual Brendon 'Stubby' Collits Memorial game.
"That's back over in Forbes this year. There's no date set for that one yet," he said.
"Stub was one of my best mates and when we turn up to play over there we will be giving it 100 per cent to rip in and try to bring the trophy back here.
"It's been a draw the last couple of years so we'd really love to win it. When we play trials we want to take high standards into those games."