Shepparton Gators will begin this year’s tilt at the Big V division one title when they meet Bulleen Boomers on March 18.
Leigh Bathman’s side will travel to East Doncaster for the contest, hoping to catch the strong metro side, that will be backing up for a double-header, off guard.
But the fixture means Shepparton crowds will have to wait another week before cheering on the Gators, with their first home game on Saturday, March 24.
Shepparton will meet Latrobe City Energy in its first double-header weekend of the season.
After playing at home, the Gators will travel to the city and meet a fierce Melbourne University Black Angels with both sides sharing the chocolates in their two encounters last season.
Collingwood All Stars has made its way into the division one competition for the first time, promoted after taking out the division two title.
The Gators will be looking to show Collingwood how the higher tier works in round six at Darebin Stadium.
Shepparton also rounds out its regular season against the All Stars during a Sunday afternoon match at Shepparton Sports Stadium.
Again the Gators’ longest away trip will be to Warrnambool, with the 4-hour journey topping the drive to Traralgon to play Latrobe City.
This year’s Shepparton line-up will be a mix of young and old.
Former captain Matt Bartlett will make his return after a year off to play football, but has had an interrupted pre-season due to an ankle injury.
But rising star Bailey Michel will not be present as he makes his way to Melbourne to study.
Having already started their pre-season, the Gators begin full team training this Thursday.