THE Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs will start their quest to return to Group Seven Rugby League's first grade competition this Sunday at Bill Andriske Oval.
Their reserve grade side, which will be coached by Paul Windshuttle, will host the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets - with the winner claiming the Bill Brown Cup.
"I put my hand to coach in January after a chat with president David Hatch," Windshuttle, who won a first grade premiership with the club in 2008, said.
"After travelling down from Sydney and joining the Bulldogs 18 years ago, it was tough to watch such a proud club unravel last season, which is the main reason I wanted to jump in and help fix it."
While the 46-year-old coach was disappointed to have the season delayed, the majority of his squad maintained their fitness during lockdown.
"I was really impressed with the shape everyone came back in," he said.
"With a number of crossfit and ball work sessions under our belts now, we are ready to get back on the field and play some footy."
Winshuttle's side will be headlined by skipper Steine Lofts, who played alongside the coach in the Dogs' 2008 premiership.
Lofts will be joined by experienced campaigners James Little, Ben Evans James Presland, Wade Walker, Blake Mackey and Adam Tracey.
This septet will be complemented by promising young players Cody Roach, Lleyton Roach, Lachlan Self, Travis Wooden, Dylan Carriage, Tyler Evans, Lochlan Broughton, Jesse Peiker and Callum Franchi.
"Everyone is very enthusiastic in working towards our common goal, which is making the semi-finals this season," Windshuttle, who has more than 40 registered players at his disposal in 2020, said.
"If we are competitive each and every week, we will continue to build back towards where we deserve to be, which is first grade in 2021.
"This town loves rugby league and I want to bring that buzz back to Bill Andriske Oval this season - we want to make it one of the hardest venues for teams to come to in Group Seven once again.
"It's been a hard start to the year for everyone, between the bushfires and COVID-19, so it'll be great to give everyone something to look forward to again each week."
This fixture will be the showpiece event on the day, which features four exciting games.
At 10am, the Bulldogs women's league tag two side (coached by Cheyanne Hatch) will clash with the Jets, before their WLT1 side - led by Steine Lofts - take on the Shellharbour Sharks from 11am.
The Dogs will then battle two-time reigning premiers Mount Warrigal in third grade from 12pm - before the reserve grade fixture at 2pm.
"We want to make a strong start to the season on Sunday and reward the home fans with a win," Windshuttle said.
"Everyone knows the Jets are going to be champing at the bit just as much as us but I'm confident our boys have done the necessary work to produce a performance I know they're capable of.
"We know it'll take some time but by round three, we want to have ironed out those kinks and be clicking on all cylinders.
"This season will hopefully lay the platform for the club to be successful moving forward."
The club's under 18s tackle girls play against Stingrays at Flinders Field on Saturday.