Figtree RSL's Brett Pieper is in good form, but knows it will be a tough task to defend his Illawarra singles title, with the opening-round matches on Saturday.
Pieper won the title 12 months ago on the eve of his 50th birthday and was in the best form of his career.
He then reached the quarter-finals of the state finals at East Maitland Bowling Club, bowing out to eventual finalist Josh Andriske, but would love a second crack at the finals by claiming back-to-back Zone 16 singles titles.
Pieper has just claimed a fourth straight club singles title at Figtree RSL, plus was a member of the winning club fours and triples championship teams, and is in solid touch before defending his zone title.
"Things are going good and I can't complain about how I am playing," Pieper said.
"But in singles anything can happen and, no matter what sport you play, people lift when they are playing last year's winner.
"But I will be doing my best," he said.
Pieper will play on his home green to begin his title defence against Wiseman Park's Grahame Cook in a first-round match on Saturday.
But Pieper could face an extremely tough second-round match against former champion and reigning South Pacific singles winner Aaron Teys, who is playing his first-round match on the next rink at Figtree RSL.
Warilla star Teys faces Towradgi's Rod Busst in the first round, with the winner to face either Pieper or Cook in round two, also at Figtree RSL on Saturday afternoon.