Coach Tim Foran believes Hunter can challenge for a top-two finish when they host the NSW Interbranch Championships this weekend at Fingal Beach.
Foran, who has returned as coach this year, was in charge when Hunter scored a breakthrough bronze medal in the pointscore at Stockton in 2017, ending a 17-year podium drought.
Hunter have claimed third place behind Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches at every Interbranch titles since.
They came closest to silver last year when they finished just eight points behind Sydney Northern Beaches after leading them until the final few events.
Foran believes Hunter have the depth to again challenge the heavyweight branches.
"I think we've got a really good chance of pinching one of those top two spots," Foran said.
"Sydney and Sydney Northern Beaches, they are always so hard to beat because they have so many more competitors to pick from.
"I think our under 14s in particular, they are super strong. I think they will be winning us a fair few points. Will Munro won the swim and iron at Aussies this year, Mitch and Tom Chalmers won the 2x1 beach relay and Alannah Dimmock won the 1km run.
"We've got some good sprinters in Phoebe Doran and Emerson Leadbeatter as well, just to name a few,"
This year, there are no open or under-19 divisions, meaning the title will be decided by under 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 competitors.
Branches will also be allowed to have four boys and four girls in each age group, rather than three of each.
"They have gone back to a more traditionally format with more individual races," Foran said.
"There were a lot more beach events last year, which they have dialled back, and there's more individual water events.
"This year we've been given the option of having four competitors in each age group, which is better.
"Traditionally, you would take two water and one beach competitor, but now we can take three water and one beach or two of each.
"We've got a lot of debutantes this year and we did lose some competitors to the Summer of Surf round at Alexandria Headland, but that mainly affects the under 17s.
"But we've got a really strong under-17 group."
Brodie Wright, Kane Edwards and Tully Elliott are among those unavailable because of the Summer of Surf event.
Cooks Hill's Sebastian Chalhoub was selected but had to withdraw because of injury. His place in the under-13s line-up was taken by Swansea-Belmont's Charlie Legg.
Swansea Belmont's Phoebe Doran and Billy Foran are the team captains.