THE Shoalhaven Rugby Club has experienced nearly every emotion you can in sport and the 2020 season hasn't even kicked off.
Fresh off a strong pre-season, which involved victory at the Kiama Sevens, the Paul Connor-coached side was on a high and appeared poised for a huge Illawarra Rugby season.
But then the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of their season.
The news for the Rugby Park-based club got even worse in May when the Illawarra Rugby board decided to cancel the 2020 campaign - a stark contrast from three months earlier.
But less than one week later, after the NSW government's announcement about the resumption of senior South Coast sport, the board reversed their decision.
"We were very disappointed when they cancelled the season, as we had some very strong results in our pre-season sevens and 10s competitions," Shoalhaven skipper Steven Brandon said.
"We wanted to take that momentum into the 2020 season.
"Thankfully they reversed that decision and we very excited it's back on.
"Although the delayed start has disadvantaged us a little, we can't wait to get back out there and play."
"I believe a shorter season will suit us down to the ground because we always start seasons very strong," Brandon, who was joint Illawarra Rugby Player of the Year in 2019, said.
"Not to mention limiting our away games will give us a chance.
"Generally, when we travel late in the season, it can be tough because the boys are less motivated - the nine-week season is perfect for us."
To prepare for impending kick-off, Brandon and his teammates returned to training last week, after close to three months of individual workouts.
"During the lockdown, we were advised by the coaches to try and do our own sessions," Brandon said.
"Numerous players took sleds home to encourage them to stay on track with the fitness aspect.
"When we returned on Thursday, most the boys came back in good condition, allowing us to pick up from where we left off.
"We have a very close-knit group at Shoals, so it was great to see everyone again, after a couple of months of being restricted to only group text messages."
Although there are still six weeks until the season kicks off, Brandon has already established his side's goals for 2020.
"My main goal would be to not just surprise teams but to be known as a team that when we turn up, it's not going to be an easy game to win," the 29-year-old said.
"I want opposition clubs to fear stepping foot on to the field with Shoals."