PREMIERSHIP winning stars have departed, new combinations need to form and the season is shorter, but for CSU the goal in 2020 is the same as it was last year - win the New Holland Cup.
It is a mission the students took their first step towards last Saturday when holding off a much-improved Dubbo Rhinos outfit for a 15-12 win at University Oval.
It wasn't the slickest of performances, which was to be expected after the long wait and limited preparation due to COVID-19 and the new-look squad. But it was a performance which showed plenty of heart.
It was enough for skipper Nick Plunkett - who made 10 runs and 20 tackles as well as steering his side from flyhalf - to declare a premiership defence is the goal.
"Two in a row, let's do it," he said.
"We do miss the Regan Hughes' and Jack Keppels', but that's CSU. We get an influx of players each year and build those connections and go from there."
One of the most promising aspects of CSU's victory was their defence inside their own 22. While there was certainly an element of luck involved - Rhinos knocked on over the line attempting to ground the ball and had another player seeming try-bound step into touch - there was also plenty of grit and determination.
Aside from a try shortly after the resumption of play and a quick counter attack that resulted in a successful penalty goal attempt, CSU spent the second half camped inside their own 22 trying to hold out the Rhinos.
At one stage following a yellow card the students had to defend with just 14 men, but defend they did. Plunkett, who pulled off one of a whole host of CSU try-saving tackles, knows it is a good sign.
"It's very promising to know we are very strong in defence, around the ruck particularly. We are a smaller pack so generally we shouldn't be strong there, but we are showing signs that our forwards might be becoming the dominant force for CSU," Plunkett said.
"Who knows? By the end of the season we could be known for our forward pack.
"Starting with a win is huge, you move forward, all the morale is high. We've got a great defensive baseline there, we've just got to work on a few things, especially our discipline around the ruck, a lot of penalties there, that's what let us down, but I think that just comes down to a bit of fatigue and fitness."
CSU sits out this Saturday with the bye.