BULLDOGS A SHADOW OF THE SIDE THAT WON 2019 CROWN
A month ago we tipped the Dogs to do reasonably well in their 2020 Blowes Clothing Cup defence.
Second on the ladder. Grand finalists again. Up there with the best of them.
A month, however, is a long time in footy, and the young, very-different-looking Bulldogs side that ventured up the Mitchell Highway to Dubbo on Saturday for round one of the new season will be lucky to win a game, let alone another title.
The Dogs host Orange Emus in round two and after the Greens chalked up a huge 48-8 win over a very handy Forbes side, Saturday's round two clash is shaping up as a huge one for the defending champions.
No side, in this shortened campaign, can afford to drop their opening two games. Wrestling back momentum is going to be tough.
They'll need some troops to return to the fold if Bathurst is to maintain the often vaunted unbeaten run the club is on at Ann Ashwood.
IS DUBBO THE REAL DEAL?
Well, the Roos boys think so ...
"Other teams seeing us get over the top of Bulldogs this week, I think we're a team to be worried about if you're someone else in this competition ... we're going to be pretty deadly."
Tim Beach has every right to be confident in his side's ability after their first-up win over defending champions, Bathurst.
Winning at home will be key in this campaign. If Roos continue to play well in Dubbo, and jag an away win here or there, 2020 could mark the club's return to finals footy.
PARKES A SMOKEY FOR HOLLAND CUP
We know, we know ... the Boars battled in their first-up clash with Mudgee, and it was at Northparkes Oval, too, but the Boars will be thereabouts this winter.
The club, under the guise of Josh Miles this season, has Connor Farrar on its roster, the livewire Welshman one of Trundle's best in their Woodbridge Cup premiership win last season.
The Boars lost by two points against Mudgee ... but you get the feeling, maybe, Mudgee and Parkes might be the two sides fighting out at the top of three in 2020.
And Farrar will be leading that charge for the Boars.
TABUA V ALAHNA
The Westfund Ferguson Cup kicked off on Saturday, too, and while the results weren't glaringly surprising, one thing pops when looking at the sheets.
Both Alahna Ryan and Tabua Tuinakauvadra will score tries for fun this season - they crossed for braces against Bulldogs and Forbes respectively on Saturday - and as a result will prove key players in either sides' Ferguson Cup campaign.
Neither team really landed a blow in 2019, even though Emus made the decider you got the feeling the Bulldogs girls were destined to win the crown.
But 2020 just feels different, and after great starts to the new season both Ryan and Tuinakauvadra will certainly be ones to watch.
EMUS CLASS SHINES
We've waxed lyrical about consistent sides in the past - the Trundle Boomers in the Woodbridge Cup are one of those, while Dubbo CYMS in Group 11 is another.
Orange CYMS in Group 10 over the period of nine years made seven grand finals.
Orange Emus, look to be in that same vein, and could well be leading that charge.
The Greens only took 40 minutes to find their groove in Forbes on Saturday, producing 30 unanswered points to give Forbes a second-half bath on home soil.
They didn't win last year's decider, but they're certainly still the benchmark in the Blowes Clothing Cup.
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