Kurri Kurri Bulldogs coach Ron Griffiths admits his side is probably one trial hit-out short of ideal for the season opener against Macquarie Scorpions at Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday.
But despite his reservations about the team's preparations, he is confident they will jell together on Saturday and produce a win first up.
"Plans were thrown into a bit of disarray when our trial against Maitland was cancelled because of rain.
"In the past I haven't dwelt too much on trials if you don't get them or lack of them, but I think in 2017 we played two trials and had scheduled the three and I thought that affected our start to the year. Where we were at from a football point of view.
"Last year we had three trials and made a strong start, this year we scheduled in three but it hasn't worked out that way.
"I think it's not ideal, because we had the All Stars game, a week off and then the comp starts. Normally that All Stars game would have been one of our club trial games.
"There were a few areas in attack that I wanted to work on after the Charity Shield and unfortunately we didn't get the chance.
"I think the most disappointing thing from that game was the number of errors we made coming off our line, which reinforces the disappointment of not having another hit-out.
The Bulldogs take a strong side into the season opener but will miss inspirational leader Mitch Cullen and hard-working forward Jordy Mitchell.
Kurri Kurri will also be without one of their star recruits for 2019, Chris Logan who has decided to return to rugby union and his old side the Maitland Blacks.
"Chris's circumstances changed and he went with our blessing. From the small period of time he was there we learned a lot from him and one thing we particularly learned was what a good club man and person he is," Griffiths said.
"It was a pleasure to have him here and we would have him back at the drop of the hat. I know all the players felt the same way."
The Bulldogs will finalise their team on Thursday when the availability of second-rower Jarred Anderson, from the Knights, will be confirmed.
Maitland born Anderson, has returned to the Hunter from Canterbury and played NSW Cup on the weekend for the Knights.
Other new faces in the line-up from last season will be Bryden Brown, who missed the past two seasons because of injury and travel, Damon Bard from Paterson, and Englishman Craig Richards who has joined Kurri after travelling from WA to the east coast with his partner.
Griffiths said he was delighted to finally get to coach Bard after first signing him at Maitland in 2012 but being replaced in the off-season.
A front-rower Bard played with Paterson last season after a three-year break from the game and he was very impressive in the Charity Shield.
Fullback: Ngangarra Barker; wings: Barry McGrady, Jono Maloney; centres: Tyme Dow-Nikau, Zeb Dunstan, halves: Jade Porter Jarom Haines; front-row Mick Steel, Tommy McKenzie, Brock Gilmour; back-row:Brady Hammond, Reid Alchin, Ben Wyborn (lock); interchange Damon Bard, Brydon Brown, Craig Richards and Jarred Anderson if available.