Two Goulburn Valley League surprise packets will trade blows tomorrow in a Benalla Showgrounds showdown.
Benalla will host a new-look Seymour seeking revenge for last year’s finals, when the Lions crushed the Saints by 41 points.
But the Lions have loaded up on talent, with Alex Johnston and Aiden Adams joining the club from VFL side Werribee and locked in for round one, with other recruits including Harley Taylor-Lloyd, Kyle Winter-Irving, Seamus Feery and Lachie Watts.
And with new coach Nick Jewell on board as well, no-one knows quite what to expect from Seymour this year.
‘‘It seems to take such a long time to come around, but we’ve got plenty of fresh new faces keen to show their wares at a new club,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘There’s some familiar faces, but it’s a whole new side with seven to 10 players. It’s a great unknown really, but we’re excited for it,’’ Jewell said.
‘‘I’m flying blind a bit, but really worrying about us.’’
Benalla has lost some serious weaponry with Jarrod Bannister, Jayden Guppy and Zac Pallpratt among the outs, but playing coach Luke Morgan said his side had plenty of talent ready to fill those spots.
‘‘The development of our juniors has been a focus this pre-season and we want to see if some of those guys can play big senior roles for us,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘There’s a bunch of guys aged 19 to 21 we think can move into that next bracket.
‘‘We want to see them move from coming into seniors and playing a role, to being guys getting attention from other clubs.’’
Seymour rocketed home last season to finish third with seven wins in their last nine games heading into finals, but could not keep that form running in the post-season, thrashed against Shepparton in the preliminary final.
Jewell said his side expected Benalla to bring the heat tomorrow.
‘‘Obviously they’re a good side, they played finals last year and won a flag a few years ago,’’ he said.
‘‘We expect they’ll be well-drilled, have some youth and speed and some senior midfielders.
‘‘Realistically, round one is round one, but there aren’t many better feelings than rocking up to training on Tuesday with a win on the board.’’
Morgan agreed while round one was just another four points, it was important to get the season heading in the right direction early.
‘‘It’s a new-look Seymour, we expect a different style of play with a new coach and a large turnover of players,’’ he said.
‘‘Starting on a winning note is important, you’ve got six months to prepare, and for round two you’ve got seven days.
‘‘It’s important, but we’ll judge our improvement as a side at round 18.’’