Remember the past but set the bar even higher.

That's the message from Sydney head coach Russel Grimson as the club's McDonald's Women's NSW Premier Cricket side prepares to defend their crown.

The Tigers open their title defence against Universities at David Phillips Field on Sunday while Parramatta play Penrith at Merrylands Park, Campbelltown-Camden meet St George-Sutherland at Raby Oval 1 and Northern District play Gordon at Mark Taylor Oval. Bankstown have the bye.

"We're not holding onto the past – we're starting afresh," Grimson declared.

"The past will give us some confidence, but we will be harder on ourselves.

"We can’t just expect it to happen. All teams are starting from the same point and we can’t just expect it to happen.

"We've got to make it happen."

Sydney's much talked about depth will be tested from the get-go.

Up to eight first-choice players will be absent due to entering the Covid bubble ahead of the new WBBL season, including Australian duo Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes and GWS/Sixers star Jodie Hicks.

"It's a great opportunity for some of our young up-and-coming players to get an opportunity," Grimson said.

"It's a chance for them to develop individually while also taking it up a notch from a team perspective.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing them develop their cricket."

Grimson rattled off a number of Sydney players he expected to shine this year - Naomi McDonald, Kate Barry, Olivia Maxwell, Ahilya Chandel and Ananaya Sharma to name just five.

Grimson expects the quality across the 2020/21 season to be maintained - or even bettered - as a host of players from the NSW Pathways programs start to make their presence felt.

This season's format will combine T20 and one-day matches under the one competition, with a host of triple header T20s (under-18s/second grade/first grade) to be played.     

For the schedule, teams and scores click here.