Already one of country football’s most remarkable sides, Kyabram’s quest for a third straight premiership — and potentially a third straight undefeated season — starts under lights tomorrow night.
Awaiting the legendary Bombers is Mooroopna, one of last year’s minnows intent on starting its own journey back into Goulburn Valley League contention.
But the Bombers will have a different vibe to them this season, missing a host of premiership stars — Billy Burstin, Rhys Clark, Jake Reeves and Josh Vick.
Coach Paul Newman said it did not matter who his side had on the park, it would be ready to fire again.
‘‘We’re just getting back to basics, the football we’ve been able to play has been defence-first and we want to start the season with that in mind again,’’ he said.
‘‘You compete as best you can in pre-season, but there’s nothing like a genuine home-and-away hit-out.
‘‘I think it will be pretty scrappy at stages, but we’ll concentrate on defence and make sure we get some good ball into our forwards.’’
One familiar face that will again be pulling on the red and black is Lachie Smith, with the VFL-listed gun available in round one.
‘‘We’re 100 per cent healthy, everyone is on deck and that includes Lachie,’’ he said.
‘‘To have him is fantastic and we never doubted he’d stay involved with the club if he could.
‘‘He explored that AFL path and it didn’t work out, but he’s very passionate about the club and helping out in whatever way he can.’’
For Mooroopna, the focus is on being competitive, and finding more wins than last year when it won just three games.
Coach Dale Osborne acknowledged the daunting round-one task at home and said it was on his troops to bring maximum effort and compete with the best.
‘‘We expect a good Kyabram outfit, they’ve lost a few, but Paul has done a great job the last few years,’’ he said.
‘‘We expect they’ll come out and try and keep that good record going. It’s up to our boys to get out there and put up a really good fight.
‘‘We need to try and do everything properly; we’ve talked about doing the little things, beating your opponents and winning one on ones.
‘‘We have to slow them from playing their brand and nullify them as much as possible.’’
The Cats have stocked up on talent with a focus on building midfield depth and Tasmania product Aaron French looms as a vital influence in the guts.
And Osborne pointed to Alex Tattersall from Nagambie as important, with the returning ruckman to feed the ball down his midfielders’ throats.
Making the Cats’ task harder is the absence of skipper Trent Freer, who is serving a suspension from last year, with encouraging duo Ben Hicks and Lachie Devine also to miss.