THIS time last year they were the bookies' favourites — this season the Wests Tigers are 10th favourite.
After a turbulent off-season, fans will this week see their team for the first time minus a few old favourites.
After 10 years at the helm, Tim Sheens departed the club he guided to a maiden premiership.
The Tigers also parted ways with club stalwarts Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan as well as English import Gareth Ellis.
But they've gained a fresh coach in Mick Potter and a player of 257 first grade games in Braith Anasta.
Players have spoken about not having the added pressure of being tipped to win the competition as a bonus.
"We've been talked up the last couple of years and haven't been able to pull through with the goods, but this year we are under the radar which is probably a good thing for us," Tim Moltzen said.
"Plenty of people don't think we can quite get there, but I can definitely tell you that among the group we have all the confidence in the world that we can make the top eight, and we have the calibre of player to do that."
Potter has only been around the lair for a few months, but he also knows the expectations of players and fans.
"Ultimately the goal is to get in the eight and get in the grand final," the two-time premiership-winning player said.
"This season expectations are high, as mine are — we want to succeed.
"You expect them to compete, that's the big challenge, to win more than you lose.
"Every game you want to get a result and be in the positive."
Anasta is simply excited to have more than one opportunity a season to play in rugby league's heartland — south-west Sydney.
"I'm in the city and I don't get to experience the areas like here that are so passionate about rugby league," he said.
"There's so many opportunities to watch rugby union or whatever you want but here it's just rugby league — live and breathe it and that's where I want to be at.
"League's in my heart and in my blood, just like the Wests Tigers supporters."