EXPLOSIVE and experienced front rowers, fast and athletic wingers and a clever playmaker - they are the players CSU coach Peter Plunkett will be looking to when CSU begins its North Cup defence on Saturday.
While CSU has lost players from the outfit which won the inaugural North Cup women's grand final last season and Plunkett is new to the coaching role, there is a strong core of premiership winners who are back.
It is those players Plunkett wants to lead the way in the season opener against Narromine at Cale Oval.
"I'll be definitely looking for our forward pack to lead the way, especially our front row. Caitlin James has been very good, Rachel Brown, people like them who have been in the side before, I'll be looking to them for leadership," Plunkett said.
"In the backs Steph Doyle, she's been there before so I'll be looking for her to lead.
"Our winger JC [Jacinta Cooper], she's a dead set athlete, so I'll be looking for her to stand up because of her speed and her size and Olivia Jackson, the other winger we've got, she's very similar to Jacinta.
"Both those girls are very athletic and know the game, so I'll be looking for them to take control."
While CSU won its first Central West Rugby Union women's premiership crown since 2011 last season, Narromine did not participate, opting to sit out due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now the Gorillas are back Plunkett is unsure just where their strengths and weaknesses will lie. That means he will be focussed on seeing his players stick to their proven game plan - building momentum and making yards through the forwards then utilising the skill and speed of their backs.
Basically we've just built on what they did last year, I didn't want to change any of that because they've got a great cohesion and a great understanding in the way they play.Peter Plunkett
"Narromine are back and we don't know what they are going to be like. When they were here before they were a very good side and had some experienced ladies playing for them," Plunkett said.
"It is going to be a bit of an unknown quantity for us, but we've got a full squad and we're going to be competitive as well, so it's going to be an interesting day out for us.
"We can't be too worried about what they've got and what we have got, we just have to play to our strengths and see how the day unfolds for us.
"Basically we've just built on what they did last year, I didn't want to change any of that because they've got a great cohesion and a great understanding in the way they play. I said that from the start, I was never going to change the winning recipe they had last year.
"I've identified a few areas where we need a bit more structure, but that won't come in a week, we'll have to work on that right through the season."
Given there are number of new faces in CSU's squad, Plunkett will balance giving them their opportunity to shine with pushing for a season-opening win.
"For me, due to our limited build up, I'll be treating these first games even though they are competition games like a trial and I'll be giving everyone a chance," he said.
"Obviously I'll be starting with our strongest line-up and working it from there. We just have to make sure we don't leave ourselves exposed."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: