Gunnedah are wary of another stampede as they prepare to host Scone on Saturday to complete the first round.
The corresponding game last season was when the wheels started to fall off for the Red Devils.
Heading to Scone on the back of back-to-back wins, including a rousing win over grand finalists Walcha, the Red Devils went down to the Brumbies 31-15, and dropped out of the top four.
Third going into the game, they lost their next three, were hit hard by injuries and never regained their footing in the four.
This time round they sit in fourth but only a point clear of fifth-placed Pirates.
Red Devils captain Zac Newcombe said last year had been "a little bit spoken of" but believes they are better-placed this year.
"We're in a little bit of a better situation than we were last year personnel wise," he said.
"The depth of the squad is good."
A prime example is they lose centre Cameron Mitchell and second rower Tim McDermott, and bring in club stalwarts Jamie Mitchell and Matt Roseby for them.
Newcombe said there are lessons they will take out of last year, and spoke about keeping their discipline.
"Last year as soon as they got into our half they'd kick a goal," he said.
From that they then started scoring a few tries, the piggy-back penalties really hurting the Red Devils.
The Brumbies come into the game with just the one win, but have picked up two draws and are a bit hard to get a read on Newcombe said.
"I'm not sure what to expect," he said.
"They are always in for a bit of a dog-fight. They're one of those teams that always like a grind."
Much like Barraba, who the Red Devils beat before the long weekend break.
"We talked about that," Newcombe said.
"As long as we keep our heads on we should be fine."
They will be looking to what they did against the Rams as a blueprint for what they need to do.
Newcombe said one area they had done a bit of work on over the break was their defence, particularly tidying up their ruck defence and nullifying any spaces around the rucks. If they can do that, he said they will be more competitive against the top sides.
Thrust into the five-eighth duties last season, this season has seen Newcombe learning another new role.
With the Red Devils flush for centres and wingers - his more natural positions - but short on half-backs, he slotted into nine against Pirates in Round 3 and has pretty much stayed there.
"It's not too bad. You get your hands on the ball a lot, although I am used to running out wide a bit," he said.
Admitting he "didn't really have a clue at the start", he said he is getting more comfortable with each game.