One of the biggest movers of the Group Nine off-season have made a positive start on the field as well.
Cootamundra hosted Group Six club Thirlmere in a trial at Les Boyd Oval on Saturday.
Despite coming away with a 34-32 loss, the Bulldogs dominated for large periods of the clash.
And they did so without many of their new faces.
New captain-coach Glen Buttriss was one of the new recruits who watched on from the sidelines.
Returning faces Jordyn Ballard and Haydn Cowled also missed the clash while Jake Goodwin only played 20 minutes.
Co-coach Aaron Byrne was another still on the sidelines, but he was impressed by the team’s performance.
“We don’t want to get to far ahead of ourselves but there were encouraging signs against a quality side,” Byrne said.
“It was good to see what we’ve been working on pretty hard over the last eight weeks put into practice.”
Cootamundra let their seemingly comfortable lead slip at the end of the game, but the result is far from the focus.
Byrne believes they club is heading in the right direction.
“The score wasn’t really an issue,” he said.
“The new guys loosened up and a few of the young guys who were around last year seemed to have grown which is pleasing.”
Bryne was impressed by how the team’s defence structures and how they’ve adapted to a new attacking style with Buttriss on board.
The Bulldogs head to the West Belconnen Nines this weekend and will have a stronger team.
Buttriss will play while Haydn Cowled is also back after Riverina representatives duties.
The former Raiders player elected to be the sideline eye to watch many of the club’s players for the first time.
However Ballard isn’t expected to be fit to play until round one following shoulder surgery while Byrne is hoping to be ready to go in round four following surgery on his Achilles tendon.
Cootamundra have drawn to play in Gungahlin 1 on Friday night before games against West Belconnen 2 and Tuggeranong on Saturday.
While there is plenty of money on offer, Byrne is also looking to use the trip away as a team building experience.
“We will pretty well take the same squad as last weekend,” he said.
“We are using more as a bonding weekend and will all spend the weekend there.
“Some of the boys wouldn’t have spent a lot of time with the others.
“As much as it would be nice to win, and there is a fair bit of cash involved, it is second priority to having a weekend together.”