Jacqui James is confident her Moama charges can cover the loss of a number of their premiership teammates this season.
James has taken the reins of the Magpies’ A-grade squad from Charlotte Long, who may not be seen on the court for Moama this season as she has moved to the United States to be with husband Tom Sheldon after they tied the knot this year.
Last year’s Tatura A-grade best-and-fairest winner is settling in well though, and is keen to kickstart her first campaign in charge with victory today over Echuca United.
‘‘I was already friends with a lot of the girls, so it’s been an easy transition,’’ James said.
‘‘All of the girls are very excited to get started.’’
The Magpies have held on to stars like Steph Watson, Angela Slattery and Alexandra Daly — and picked up Leitchville-Gunbower duo Jodie Lake and Kim Hanna — but with only six players available for today’s derby will need to draw on young talent to help them get over the line.
‘‘We only have six of our eight A-graders available, so we’re going to have to use some under-17 and B-grade players to help out,’’ James said.
‘‘But even though we are down a few players we’re still a very strong team, and I’m very confident in us.’’
The Eagles lost plenty of experience over the off-season — with Remy Day and Olivia Bish the only two regulars sticking around — but will receive a big boost in front of a strong home crowd.
New coach Rohan Starkey will be looking to recruits Erin Delahunty, Alana Nelson and Fallon Lieschke to make an impact against Moama.
In other clashes today, Barooga will do battle with Cobram, Mulwala takes on Congupna and Nathalia hosts Tongala.
Meanwhile, the two late afternoon matches today have Finley and Deniliquin going head-to-head and Rumbalara and Numurkah clashing.
Rumba will be keen to start the season with a win under new coach Jessica Bamblett after not tasting success at all last year, while Tegan Sutton will pair with Sandi Kerrins at the helm of the Blues after the departure of stalwart Renee Judd.