Riverina coach Trent Ball is looking to reward the players who have taken the zone to its biggest game in almost two decades.
The Cricket Albury-Wodonga-dominated outfit stunned Country Cricket NSW by toppling long-time powerhouses ACT Southern Districts and Greater Illawarra, as well as the often dangerous Western, to book a place in the NSW Country Championship grand final on February 21.
Riverina will face defending champions and country cricket's most powerful outfit in Newcastle in a classic David v Goliath battle.
The game was originally scheduled for Bowral's Bradman Oval but, given life in COVID-19 times, a venue is now expected to be confirmed in the next week.
"The best-case scenario is if everyone is available, we would have virtually the same squad, with maybe one change," Ball suggested.
In the last three years, only the 'big four' of NSW country have contested the grand final - Newcastle, Greater Illawarra, ACT Southern Districts and Central Coast.
Western was the last team outside that quartet to win in 2016-17.
The Country Championship started in 1986-87 and Riverina has won only once - under former CAW star Keiran Knight - in 2002-03.
Given how rare it is, there must be an inclination to load up with any available superstars, like New City's boom Indian recruit Shoaib Shaikh, who's clearly the best bat in the strongest association.
"It's hard because you think about maybe only having one chance, seeing as though it's been so long since we made the final, but it depends on how you want to go about it," Ball offered.
"The way the boys played, you can't deny them."
The 13-man squad had eight CAW players in NSW Country rep Ryan Brown, all-rounder Nathan Brown, opening batsman Matt Sharp (Lavington), paceman Jarryd Hatton, all-rounders Ben Mitchell (Corowa) and Theo Valeri (Wodonga), off-spinner Zac Simmonds (Belvoir) and wicketkeeper Angus Kilby (St Patrick's).
Griffith supplied Dean Bennett, Haydn Pascoe and Luke Docherty, while Wagga had boom youngster Jake Scott and Brayden Ambler.
IN OTHER NEWS:
COVID travel restrictions didn't allow last year's captain Tom Johnson and Wodonga team-mate Cam Suidgeest to play, but they're likely to be added to the squad.
"I would only look at the boys who have been involved for the last couple of years, it's all been a build-up over that time," Ball offered.
I would only look at the boys who have been involved for the last couple of years, it's all been a build-up over that time.- Trent Ball
Ball is hoping to attend the game as he starts radiation treatment on February 8 following a second bout of cancer surgery in December.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.