Emus' legend Nigel Staniforth is champing at the bit to kick-off what he's describing as a "very meaningful" Blowes Clothing Cup, despite the bottle greens being drawn arguably the toughest schedule of any side in the highly anticipated 2020 reboot.
CWRU chief Matt Tink released the code's draws on Friday, revealing the men in green have three weeks to prepare for a July 18 trip to Forbes to begin an nine round regular season.
But that's not the tough part.
Emus have been drawn one less bye than the four other sides - Emus' break will come in round five - in this year's premiership race.
Tink acknowledged a lot of clubs made sacrifices to ensure rugby union is played in the Central West this winter, and considering the condensed nature of the 2020 competition playing an extra game may help with continuity rather than hinder any sort of momentum.
Regardless, Staniforth, the most experienced campaigner in the Emus' camp, says his side will be ready to hit the ground running at Grinsted Oval come July.
"We're very happy to have a season and we can't be too fussy in a year like this," Staniforth said looking at the draw.
"It's still two rounds against each other so it's not much difference to what it normally is."
While it's normal for the defending premiers, in this case the Bulldogs, to enter the ensuing season as the competition's benchmark, Staniforth thinks this season will be unpredictable as there's been a large amount of player turnover within the five clubs leading into the official games.
"I think it's going to be a cracking competition," he said.
"It'll be really interesting to see where everyone's placed. There's a lot of speculation about who's playing where and with league not on, there are some extra guys who might be keen.
"All the teams are going to be really competitive."
The veteran fullback knows how tough his side's week one trip will be, with the Emus-Platypi clash an ideal way to kick things off.
"We've developed a really good rivalry with them over the last few seasons," he said.
We didn't really care who we played, though ... we just wanted to get the season started.Nigel Staniforth on meeting Forbes in round one
"We didn't really care who we played, though ... we just wanted to get the season started."
Head coach Pete Bromley's had his side slaving away at Endeavour Oval for the past six weeks and while the fitness has been gruelling, Staniforth's not overly keen to start running at blokes on the practice field again.
"I'm not looking forward to the contact again ... it's been nice not doing it," he laughed.
Emus will be allowed to commence contact drills in the upcoming week which will give the side an indication as to how prepared they are for the fast-approaching season.
"It's pretty crazy if you think that we've only got six more sessions until the season starts," he said.
"There's been a lot of messages rolling through and everyone's extremely keen."
Staniforth spent the off-season rehabilitating an injured medial cruciate ligament and despite struggling in the early stages of the process says "it's good to go".
Emus will travel to Forbes for their opening-round clash on Saturday July 18.
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