Central West Rugby Union's seasons break for the Easter long weekend but even with no games there's plenty to talk about across all three tiers, the general bye providing an excellent opportunity to reflect on what has and hasn't happened in the first fortnight.
Some pre-season questions have been settled while others remain unanswered but most importantly, the first fortnight's raised plenty more and there's a handful that relate to some of Central West's heavyweights.
There's plenty more talking points that have come from the opening two rounds, but here's my five biggest takeaways from the first fortnight of the Blowes Clothing Cup, New Holland Agriculture Cup, the Oilplus Cups and the Westfund Ferguson Cup too.
1 | BACK-TO-BACK BID DOWN TO DEFENCE
Here's an interesting statistic for you.
The greens' ability to score points isn't in question considering they've notched 78 in those first two weeks but their efforts without the ball are a far cry from what we're used to seeing.
In skipper Nigel Staniforth's eyes they're also nowhere near good enough in terms of the lofty standards the defending premiers set for themselves, particularly when you consider the greens have conceded a lot of those points immediately after scoring their own.
That's a dangerous habit to get into and one that would almost definitely prove decisive come the point end of the season.
Granted we're only two weeks into the season, so the greens will be confident of shoring up their wall and returning to their miserly ways as the season progresses.
If they do, well, there's no reason to suggest they won't win another premiership.
If they don't though...
2 | CHAMPIONS JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER
Geurie, Narromine and Bathurst Bulldogs' women, may as well call them all Winx.
Despite being just two rounds into the season, if there were markets available you could almost guarantee all three sides would be nigh on unbackable to once again hoist their respective competitions' trophies.
That's not to disrespect the remaining Oilsplus Cup Northern Division, New Holland Agriculture Cup and Westfund Ferguson Cup sides, but it's hard to deny the respective defending premiers look even better now than they did in 2018.
Geurie warmed into the season with a still-dominant 37-14 win over Yeoval and then made light work of Wellington in last weekend's grand final rematch, keeping the Redbacks tryless to win 31-3.
Narromine, with the big inclusion of former NSW and Queensland Country prop John Ellis, haven't broken a sweat yet, beating Mudgee 55-nil and then hammering Parkes 71-nil in a rematch of last year's decider, the latter was on the road too.
Bulldogs haven't been tested yet either, beating new side Dubbo Kangaroos 47-nil and then taking down the improving Orange City Lions by the same margin.
In short, they all look like morals... but I've given plenty of sides a kiss of death before.
3 | GOLDIES LOOK LIKE THE REAL DEAL
The returning Boorowa Goldies have wasted no time stamping their authority on this year's Oilsplus Cup South-West Division, rocketing to a share of the competition lead with Cootamundra through the opening two rounds.
Granted they've not been tested the same way some other sides have, but as the old saying goes you can only beat what's in front of you and they did that quite convincingly against Condobolin (39-23) before edging out the also-returning Young Yabbies (19-10) on the road.
They flew under the radar in the pre-season because, simply, there isn't many people who know all that much about them but they'll have a chance to prove they're every bit a title contender over the next few weeks.
In a tough three-week period they'll host Grenfell then reigning premiers Harden before travelling to Temora to face last year's beaten grand finalists.
4 | THIS COULD BE BULLDOGS' YEAR
Did Bathurst Bulldogs even have an off-season?
While the other Blowes Clothing Cup sides are absolutely warming into their work Bulldogs have the ground running in a big way, no mean feat considering side does contain a number of new faces compared to 2018.
My Daily Liberal counterpart Nick Guthrie described their round one performance against Dubbo Kangaroos, which netted a 36-19 victory, as "controlled" overall but also went as far as saying the result never really looked in doubt after the opening half-hour.
In those 30 minutes he said Bulldogs were near-flawless, which is hard to fathom considering it was their first outing of the season-proper, and they backed up by hammering the trying Orange City Lions 62-28 a week later.
Rarely does a side maintain excellent form for an entire season, there's always swings and roundabouts, and for some the thought of the Dean Oxley-coached side peaking too early may come to mind.
But, for me, with last year's grand final loss to Emus driving them, I'd suggest they won't let that happen.
Makes for a mouth-watering decider rematch in round four, doesn't it?
5 | STUDENTS MUST HEED LESSONS OF 2012
Anyone remember the 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup season?
The Mitchell Men actually went on to win their first six encounters that year and be in a share of the competition lead with eventual champions Orange City, it was the Lions who ended their streak in round seven too.
But the crucial point here is in the lessons they can learn from 2012, because after that magnificent start they actually went on to finish a somewhat disappointing fifth and bowed out in the elimination semi-final at the hands of Parkes.
As five-eighth at the time Chris Russell said that campaign was an improvement on the season before when they claimed the dreaded wooden spoon but even so, it fell apart in the back end of the year.
Injuries hit and hurt, but largely the students' demise in 2012 came down to the fact the other sides figured them out, and exposed their weaknesses at the pointy end of year, and complacency played a role too.
This year's batch of Mitchell Men have started well and showed plenty of grit and determination to roll over the Wombats in the second half last week in particular, but it'll mean very little if they fall off and don't keep improving as their rivals do.
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