THEY'VE lost their coach and at least two senior players, but Western Suburbs officials are confident they will be just as formidable next year as they endeavour to win back-to-back Newcastle Rugby League titles.
The Rosellas capped off a season of rare dominance on Sunday with an emphatic 36-0 triumph against Cessnock in the grand final at McDonald Jones Stadium.
But the man who masterminded their success, Matt Lantry, will be coaching Maitland next year, while Mark Taufua and Brad Tighe - veterans of a combined 259 National Rugby league games - are retiring.
In addition, there is doubt surrounding the future of playmaker Luke Walsh, who suffered an ankle injury in the opening minutes of the grand final.
Nonetheless, Wests secretary Neil Scarr said the aim would be to become the first club to defend their crown since the Rosellas racked up a premiership of hat-tricks under the coaching of Craig Miller between 2012 and 2014.
"We've worked really hard to make sure that we've got a really good group of young players coming through over the next three to four seasons, so we're more than confident we can continue on," Scarr said.
"The aim now is to win it again next year, and we believe that we can do that."
Scarr was confident Wests would handle the pressure of being the most coveted scalp in the competition.
"It's one thing to win the premiership, it's another thing to keep it," he said.
"The expectations are high that we can do it again, but it's obviously very, very hard.
"But that comes back to the type of coach you have, which is why we have to make the right appointment."
The Rosellas have already fielded a number of expressions of interest from potential coaches but will not be rushing into naming Lantry's replacement.
"We've had numerous inquiries," Scarr said.
"It's incumbent on us that we get the right person. We want someone who is a whole-of-club coach.
"It's not just about first grade. We want him overseeing the lower-grade coaches and helping to develop our young players.
"We're not in a hurry to make a decision. We're more than comfortable to take our time.
"It's a big decision, and we've got to get it right."
Scarr said he felt the competition had progressed to the point where a captain-coach would no longer be a viable option.
There have been suggestions that Walsh, the former Knights, Penrith and Super League halfback, might be a candidate to succeed Lantry, but Scarr was still hopeful the 32-year-old would continue playing next season.
"We expect Luke will go around again next season, but that's subject to medical reports," he said. "We'll wait and see the extent of the injury and then we can make an informed decision."
Walsh suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of the ankle earlier in his career and admitted after Sunday's game: "I hope it's not the end."