2024 represents a crucial year for the evolution of the NSW Waratahs.
It marks the third year in charge for coach Darren Coleman as they look to get over the quarter-final hump.
They have all the talent necessary to make a deep run in the playoffs, needing to put it all together this year to repay the faith shown.
With this in mind, we look at the five key talking points for the NSW Waratahs heading into 2024.
1. Pressure on DC
Darren Coleman has built a roster capable of matching it with the best in the finals. It’s time to show it.
Coleman inherited a winless Waratahs side and has done a remarkable job in shaping it and developing a host of key Wallabies.
However, he’s conceded they fell below their lofty standards in 2023, limping into the finals before a thumping defeat in the quarter-finals.
With his contract up at the end of 2024, the team will have all the motivation to perform to keep the fan favourite around.
2. The Tane battle
Tane Edmed will be looking to solidify his spot at flyhalf but there’s plenty of quality behind him ready to hunt him down.
Edmed finished the year as the starter after an injury-interpreted year, dealing with a back complaint.
It wasn’t long ago that the Eastwood half was battling for higher honours but found himself behind former teammate Ben Donaldson, with his departure opening the foot for Edmed to further his claims.
However, he won’t have it his own way with Will Harrison ready to make up for lost time and Jack Bowen impressing for the Junior Wallabies last year.
3. Keeping Bell fit
The Waratahs added great depth to their roster but their best signing for 2024 will be one that has been around for a long time - Angus Bell.
Bell lasted 20 minutes in 2023 but returned in time to produce a breakout international year for the Wallabies that puts him in real contention to become the first prop to win the John Eales Medal.
The 23-year-old is a game-changer in all areas of the park but needs to stay fit if the Waratahs are to neutralise rivals up front.
He forms the key piece of an underrated front-row that includes Wallabies captain Dave Porecki and one Test Wallaby Harry Johnson-Holmes.
Speaking of the Waratahs pack, there will be several players hungry to make a point in 2024 after their omission.
Locks Jed Holloway and Ned Hanigan were firmly on the radar in 2023 before their shock omissions. The addition of towering young gun Miles Amatosero adds much needed size to their pack.
In the back-row, Charlie Gamble has the perfect opportunity to remind selectors of his class after the absence of Michael Hooper.
Ultimately, the player who will have the most to prove is someone selected for the World Cup but never used - Langi Gleeson. Gleeson is one of the hardest runners in the competition but never found the field in France, setting up the ultimate revenge season with the Tahs.
5. Consistency is key
This is the most crucial issue plaguing the side since Coleman took over.
The Waratahs were red hot in the middle of the season but soon as thoughts of the finals and top eight spots came to mind, they collapsed, headlined by their loss to Moana Pasifika.
The team needs to be better at handling the expectations and delivering the type of performances that get fans excited week in and week out.
For all the hype and potential, this has to be the year to deliver.