Getting back to basics is the main motto as Leeton prepare for their return to first grade.
The Phantoms have returned back to the fold for the first time since 2019, when COVID was not in the vernacular, after only taking part in third grade last season.
Even then the Phantoms failed to qualify for finals last year, but have put in plenty of work looking to boost their numbers to field a much more competitive side.
Quinten Longhurst has come on board as coach, after a false start last season, and expects to get a much better indication of where the team is at when they travel to Beres Ellwood Oval on Saturday to play CSU.
Longhurst is hoping keeping things simple will help the club get their stride back.
"It's looking good and we've all been training pretty well," Longhurst said.
"It's about basic rugby and if we do the basics right that is how we can stick to our plans.
"We're out there to be real competitive and mix it right up there at the top."
Leeton's numbers have doubled since last year, when they made the call to withdraw from first grade, and a real focus has been put on ensuring future stability.
They've been boosted from a few new faces arriving to town and are hoping the relationship they've created with Deniliquin will only help things.
The Drovers made a late decision to pull out of second grade and now a number of their players are expected to link with the Phantoms.
There are discussions to have some games in Deniliquin later in the year.
Longhurst hopes the relationship will be fruitful for both clubs.
"It's really good Deni has come on board with us and it has complimented both our clubs. Not just the Leeton Phantoms but the Drovers as well," he said.
"It is tough at the moment getting people on the paddock and I'm pretty confident a lot of clubs, not just in rugby union but in other codes, are having the same problem as well.
"We'll work together really well with Deni to make it a great year."
In another positive sign for their return, Leeton comes into the season off a trial win against Griffith.
There was plenty to like from the display, but Longhurst knows the real challenge will start on Saturday when they take on a Reddies outfit boosted by the return of Liam Krautz.
"We were a little bit lower on numbers of what Griffith were and the Griffith boys didn't hold back and threw everything at us," he said.
"They probably had twice as many players as we did but the boys did really well.
"I was very happy with the outcome there and again it was basic rugby."
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Courtney is a sports journalist from The Daily Advertiser focusing on Group Nine, Southern Inland, cricket, harness racing and greyhound racing.
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