Geographical restrictions have long-been a bane on Central West's country week preparations, with the massive distances between centres a huge setback in bringing a group together to train and bond in the lead-up.
That's partly why co-coach Tristan Buttenshaw thinks next month's tour to New Zealand will be invaluable as his outfit looks to return to their NSW Country Rugby Union Championship zenith in 2019, in both sevens and XV-a-side formats.
Central West finished fourth and third at those respective tournaments last year, with Buttenshaw admitting the former was a slightly disappointing result considering his outfit was trying to defend its 2017 crown.
"We did have really high expectations in terms of the sevens championships last year so we weren't all that pleased in coming fourth," he admitted.
"It was just a few little things, basic things that [went wrong] and a lot of those things come down to the fact we don't train together, or come together as much as a group as you'd like to before the championships.
"But we get the chance to do that in this tour and in the two training sessions we've already had the girls have come together and gelled really well, and having a couple of games under our belt before the championships will be a real positive as well."
Considering they'll be facing Kiwi sides Buttenshaw naturally assumes the standard will be of the highest level too, providing excellent learning opportunities for his side and Central West's men too.
"Definitely, I'd imagine they'll be pretty handy and the training sessions we'll have over there will help too," he said.
"It'll be good for both sides, give us a bit to bring back I think. For us, with women's rugby improving all the time all over the country we need to try and stay ahead of the game and I think this is a great way to do that."
Buttenshaw and fellow coaches Greg Horton and Amanda Ferguson will have a serious squad at their disposal in New Zealand too, with players being plucked from all over the Westfund Ferguson Cup.
ACT Brumbies and Orange Emus halfback Em McDonald, in the midst of preparing for her side's Super W opener on Saturday, headlines the group alongside last year's player-of-the-year in Claire Woolmington, and the likes of West Wyalong's Sharnah Stevens, Bathurst Bulldogs' Mandy Scott and Cowra's Lilly-Ann Mason.
Not that Buttenshaw wanted to highlight any individuals he's keen to see in action.
"I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in action over there," he said, although he did have a few words on McDonald.
"There's a lot of talent in the group and we've got players from just about every club in the competition I think which is great, it's good to see that depth.
"The work Em's been doing with the Brumbies is making a big difference, you can really see that at training in terms of things like her passing (from the base of the ruck).
"I'm sure she'll get plenty from the tour and I think she'll really keep coming along after that too."
Central West land in New Zealand on Sunday, March 3 before a two-hour training session the following day.
On Wednesday they face Canterbury University before a a second, two-hour training session on Thursday and then clashes with High School Old Boys and Prebbleton on Saturday.
The women’s side faces High School Old Boys’ equivalent, while the Blue Bulls will be split into two teams that afternoon and face both opposition.
- CENTRAL WEST TOURING SQUAD: (Women) Sarah Archer, Courtney Auld, Davina Cooke, Roxanna Dougall, Rebecca Eastaway, Amie Fazekas, Amanda Ferguson, Krystal Fyfe, Kim Fyfe, Kate Gullifer, Nicole Jordan, Helen Limn, Jacky Lyden, Lilly-Ann Mason, Louise McCabe, Em McDonald, Harriet Messner, Rita Palm, Nicole Schneider, Mandy Scott, Kenesha Stevens, Sharnah Stevens, Milika Tuinakavaudra, Edwina Ulberg, Mel Waterford, Claire Woolmington; (Men) Craig Campbell, Mahe Fangupo, Matt Findlay, Nick Fisher, Peter Fitzsimmons, Charlie French, Matt Fuller, Brenton Gibson, Sam Greatbatch, Mark Grivas, Jarrod Hall, George Hancock, Joel Harper, Lachie Harris, Dave Jessiman, Hamish Kaveney, Shahid Khalfan, Nathan Langilangi, Ben Lenehan, Hayden Leopold, Tom Macleay, Shaun McHugh, Adam Miles, Mitch Rixon, Justin Mobbs, Joe Nash, Will Oldham, Harrison Peacock, Josh Peffer, George Quigley, Mathew Randall, Ben Ryan, Aaron Seaman, Josh Tremain, Alex Weal, Harry Webber, Zac White
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