A NEW challenge, a new format season, but the goal for the Bathurst Bulldogs women in 2020 remains the same - a premiership.
With news that rugby clubs across New South Wales can now return to training after the coronavirus shut down - albeit it in small groups and with restrictions such as no contact - the Bulldogs women can again start to think about a title defence.
When beating the Orange Emus in last year's Ferguson Cup grand final, Bulldogs became just the second club to string together three consecutive Central West Rugby Union women's premierships.
It was an effort Bulldogs skipper Mel Waterford is extremely proud of, but she and her team-mates are also driven to extend that streak.
Waterford said no matter what format season 2020 takes, if it commences in July as is the aim, Bulldogs will work hard to find success.
"Definitely we will be keen to win another premiership if it goes ahead," she said.
"I don't know how many games we'll get, but it's going to be a short season - it will be like back to the old days when we used to just play eight short games through the season, have a few byes and then play finals at the end.
"It will be a new challenge, a new way to play the season, hopefully everyone has stayed fit and we'll be up there at the end of the season where we want to be.
"It would still mean a lot, especially with everything that every club's had thrown against them this year."
READ MORE: McRobert has to adapt to unprecedented times
Bulldogs had begun their pre-season training in January, hitting the paddock twice a week before the virus put things on hold.
The bulk of the 2019 squad had been retained, while Bathurst had also recruited new players from hockey, netball, league tag and touch football.
"It was a bit disappointing for us [shut down] because we've got really big numbers and we'd had consistently big numbers at training," Waterford said.
"It had probably been one of our better starts to a pre-season.
"Obviously when teams are going well and it's developing the way it is for women's rugby, it's exciting for people to come and have a go at."
While readjusted draws for the Central West Rugby Union competitions are yet to be released, it was planned to split the women's competition into three this season.
The idea was for women's teams to play at the same venue as the male members of their club each Saturday.
In the case of Bulldogs, they would be pitted against Orange Emus, Orange City, Dubbo Kangaroos, Forbes and Cowra.
Keep up to date with the latest sports news by clicking here
"When you are training together as a club, everybody is with each other every Tuesday and Thursday and you see the progression of teams, it's nice to be able to support each other," Waterford said.
"But to start Saturday at the same field and finish the day at the same field and to try and get results in four different games - it will definitely be a lot better for us."
Waterford admits there will be pressure no matter the format of the draw, but said she and her team-mates will stick to a proven approach.
"There'll be pressure that we put on ourselves ... but we have always been a club that takes it week by week and whatever happened in the last game, we use that to learn and move forward," she said.