COACH Scott Coleman had to lure Paul Dan out of semi-retirement last season after the Hunter Wildfires were left with just two fit halfbacks midway through a shortened Shute Shield campaign.
The start to the new season is still two months away, but depth in the No.9 jumper doesn't look like it will be a problem.
Tongan international Leon Fukofuka, exciting Gordon prospect Nick Murray, Argentinian arrival James MacGaw and Charles Fielder, who was injured midway through last season, played key roles as the Wildfires progressed to the semi-final of the Mick "Whale" Curry Memorial Sevens on Saturday.
Throw in Jayden Wright, who played for Easts in 2020 and is coming back from an ankle injury, and Coleman has plenty of competition.
Fukofuka, who has 15 Super Rugby caps, is the most experienced of the halfbacks and was strong on Saturday despite being under done.
The star of the sevens for the Wildfires was MacGaw, who hails from for San Albano in Buenos Aires and is travelling the world with his girlfriend and had planned to play for Hamilton.
"He is out here travelling and wants to play at the highest level," Coleman said. "I thought he was too little when I first saw him, but he was amazing.
"He has good chat, is a good defender ... he has played a lot of sevens in Argentina and really stood out.
"We have a few nines in the squad which is good. James, Nick Murray, Jayden and Charles are all nippy types of nines.
"Leon is a different mould to the others. He has a lot of experience, a strong kicking game, great pass and is such a big unit. He is a threat around the ruck as well.
"Mahe Fangupo was good for us last year, but his partner had a baby and he is staying in Forbes. Still, it is great that we have some depth in that area."
In Saturday's semi, the Wildfires went down 17-0 to Western Sydney, who went on to beat West Harbour 19-12 in the final.
Coleman was pleased with the result, considering it was the new group's first hit out.
"There were lots of positives," he said.
"Apart from James, Nate De Thiery was good, so was Will Feeney, Zac Crowley.
"Some of the new boys were disappointed that we got beat in the semi.
"I reminded them that we had only one training session at sevens.
"We here to play fifteens not sevens. That was a bit of fun to get to know each other. Half the team hadn't met before Thursday.
"We are happy with the direction we are headed. Now it's time to ramp it up."
The Wildfires have a training camp on the weekend of February 25-27 and play their first trial against Randwick on March 20 in Maitland.
In the other divisions on Saturday, Singleton, who have been boosted by the arrival in tow of a host of Fijians, won the country division, beating Hamilton 27-14 in the final.
In the women's final, Southern Districts were too strong for Easts 22-10 in an all-Sydney decider.
The Bulls, who entered two team, beat Bungedore, Lakes and Gunnedah to top their pool before accounting for Nelson Bay 22-14 in the semi-final.