It is deja vu for the Boggabri Roos in Saturday’s Group 4 Second Division season opener.
The Roos face 2016 grand finalists, Dungowan Cowboys, the same side which eliminated them from last year’s final series.
Boggabri club president Greg Haire was in little doubt the round one clash would be tough.
“We’ve lost a few numbers from last year,” Haire said.
“I think we’ll have a team but only one to two reserves.
“We’ve never beat Dungowan up there.
“It will be tough.”
Ongoing player work commitments, player retirements, early season injury and club defections has struck out at least six of their playing best.
Lock Boyd Campbell is returning to his junior footy roots at Gunnedah while Brett Crowley is out for at least half the season with a broken ankle. His injury came in the first game of the pre-season West Knockout in Tamworth where Boggabri beat Diggers by a point 16-15 and won 19-8 against returning competition club, Bendemeer, but cruelly, didn’t have the troops to carry on.
But the mighty Roos, which celebrated their club’s centenary year in 2016, still have plenty to play for.
Coach Dave Harris is back for his fifth season in the job meanwhile Jason Kemp will lead the club’s league-tag side again as coach.
Also pulling on the green and gold again this season is Bobby Jones, Mitch and Jayde Campbell as well as Brad Hamilton, who returns to playing field after a season on the sideline nursing a shoulder injury.
Also in the mix are teenagers Nick Hobden and Brendan Gilham. Gilham was recently selected in the Group 4 Under 23 side due to compete at the Greater Northern Championships.
In the other first round fixtures Werris Creek kick off their title defence at home against Manilla, Bendemeer host Bundarra, Walcha and Uralla clash at Walcha and Kootingal-Moonbi tackle Bingara at Kootingal.