Reigning premier Picola United will host a stand-alone grand final rematch against Strathmerton to open the Picola District Football League north-west season on Saturday.
Saturday might be the start of a new season, but no doubt the pain of an 83-point grand final loss remains at Strathmerton.
United heads into the new season as the hunted, despite losing league best-and-fairest David Daniel and Darby Walsh.
Although the team has plenty of depth, coach Jon Varcoe will be expecting a number of players from the reserves and thirds to step up.
Picola has an abundance of talent, with the reserves also winning last year’s flag while the thirds finished runner-up.
Former Shepparton Swans Blake Jorgenson and Rumbalara veteran Travis Morgan will be hoping to have an immediate impact for their new side.
Meanwhile, it will be a new look Bulldogs in round one with Mikal Bloom, Zeke Bunge, Steve Devlin, Daniel Ellis, Lewis O’Sullivan and Bryden Power joining the club.
Veteran Bloom is perhaps the most interesting Bulldogs recruit, having helped Victoria Country win the 2003 under-18 National Championships alongside then Murray Bushrangers team-mates David Mundy, Kane Tenace and Ryley Dunn.
O’Sullivan won a Goulburn Valley league premiership with Shepparton United.
Not only has the cattle on field changed, but also off it with Michael Laidlaw joining Tim Bramich as co-coach after Matt Shannon stood down at the end of last season.