Port Kembla coach Stuart Beedie knows his squad will go into the 2014 campaign with a target on their back.
A 16-game winning streak and triumphs in both the league championship and grand final series enhanced the Zebras status as a heavyweight of the Illawarra Premier League.
By retaining most of that premiership double winning roster, it is no secret they will again be a force in this season's competition.
Weather permitting, they will begin their title defence against Tarrawanna on Saturday in the northern suburbs and Beedie is certain their performance won't go unnoticed.
"Obviously if you win the competition then teams from the previous year come out and look to knock you off, which is fair enough," Beedie said.
"We have to lift our game and I think we are capable of doing it. I am more than happy with the way pre-season has gone and we have made a couple of good signings."
While Port have made inclusions, the notable re-signing of Nuno Pires is a huge bonus for the club.
Pires had left Wetherall Park to play with the South Coast Wolves in the National Premier League NSW competition, but work commitments brought the league's premier striker back to Port.
His addition coupled with Port's ability to retain most of their roster has Beedie confident in his 2014 squad.
"It provides a bit of consistency in the club," Beedie said.
"Some clubs seem to roll over seven-eight-nine players a season.
"Obviously, you are always going to have two or three that seek new pastures and that is fine, it rejuvenates the club when you bring in new players anyway."
Port will meet a Blueys outfit they knocked out of last season's final series first-up.
But Beedie admitted to not seeing as much of Luke McGuire's men since handing them a 2-1 defeat.
"I saw them for the first 10 minutes against Wollongong Olympic and they were 2-0 up and I thought 'Gee they are going well'," Beedie said.
"They ended up losing that on penalties but I have a lot of respect for Luke McGuire, he has done a great job with the club and I am sure they will be competitive."
Rain has thrown this week's opening round into chaos, with a number of fixtures already postponed.
Both Friday night fixtures featuring Bulli and Cringila as well as Fernhill against Dapto Dandaloo have been moved to Sunday but still look unlikely.