THE Werris Creek Magpies are ready to pull out all the stops in this year's Group 4 women's nines competition.
Having missed last year's event, the Magpies have been in training for the past month in anticipation of Saturday's opening round.
First-grade star Cody Tickle will be taking the reins as coach of the side and believes the squad is well placed to "give the comp a good shake".
"The girls have been training for the past four or five weeks and have been progressing really well," Tickle told the Leader.
"We've mostly been working on the basic skills: passing, tackling and things like that.
"One of the big things we've focused on has been the differences between league tag and tackle.
"The girls have been picking it up really quickly and having a lot of fun with it as well, which is great to see."
The Magpies league tag team had plenty of highlights during the 2019 season, including a fifth-place finish at the season's end.
"Most of the girls played together throughout the season, which has really helped our structures," Tickle said.
"Defensively, the team's structure has been really sound so far.
"It's been really impressive to be honest, and while we won't have our full squad available on Saturday, I'm confident we can be really competitive."
The first-grade second rower and co-captain, Tickle said he had enjoyed trying his hand at coaching.
"It's been a lot of fun so far," he said.
"I'm really lucky to have a great group of players, who are really keen on improving their skills and having a lot of fun.
"To me, that's what our club is all about and it has been great to be involved this year.
"It was a shame we couldn't get a side for this competition last year, but I think the scheduling just didn't quite work for us.
"But this year we are all pretty excited and eager to get stuck into it."
Tickle said he had been using "a lot of game-style training" to get the team ready for this year's competition.
"Personally, I'm not much of a fan of just running for the sake of it," he said.
"I much rather include a ball and get the running in that way.
"That's why we have been really looking to do a lot of things that will come up in games.
"I think it's been working and hopefully we can transfer it over to our games."
The Magpies will begin their nines campaign against the Gunnedah Bulldogs on Saturday, before taking on the Manilla Tigers on October 26 and the Boggabri Roos on November 2.