Mininera and District Football League clubs will be eager to put a long pre-season full of off-field issues and drama behind them this weekend and get to doing what they love most - playing football.
Lengthy discussions around the potential inclusion of Smythesdale into the league as well as recent issues with Ararat Eagles players numbers stole the limelight during the summer months, but the focus can now move to the football.
League chairman John Box said he is excited for games to commence.
"We have definitely faced a few curve balls in the off-season so it will be good to get things underway," he said.
"Hopefully with this first week in before Easter it will give the clubs a chance to look at themselves and sort things out for the year to come."
Wickliffe-Lake Bolac goes into the new season as reigning premiers but with new coaches and a somewhat new-look lineup will be in the crosshairs for some premiership hopefuls.
Centre Bounce will return again this season, providing more than 40 years worth of insight into the league. He said he sees the competition being relatively well balanced.
"There is a strong top half and the bottom half is of equal competitive ability with each other," he said.
"All early reports around the league indicate a top strong half with a bottom half of equal competitive ability.
"Clubs appearing to be in the top half may be Tatyoon, Lismore-Derrinallum, Wickliffe-Lake Bolac, Penshurst and Woorndoo-Mortlake. Clubs looking for the big time are Great Western, SMW Rovers and Glen Dunkeld but must win games against top sides."
Mr Box said he also believes there is some balance to the competition this year.
"I think the senior football will be very strong, with probably only a couple of bottom sides,' he said.
"Most of the clubs should be fairly even, clubs like Great Western have recruited well could be interesting to watch, while Lismore-Derrinallum looks like they could be on the hunt to repeat their efforts from 2017."
With much excitement surrounding the senior competition, Mr Box said he holds some concerns around some reserves teams.
"There are three or four clubs battling for numbers which is concerning," he said.
"I think it is an issue a lot of clubs across country football are facing. Hopefully we can iron out those issues though."
Mr Box said people within the community with ideas on how to continue to strengthen the competition should put them to the league.
"We need people to realise how important country footy is and that we can all work together and keep it going," he said. "Any suggestions from anywhere in the community would be a great help."
A brief overview of key ins and outs of the 2019 Mininera and District Football League teams.
Ins: Jason Kannar, James Pipkorn, Daniel Chaplin, Riley Jervis, Brodie Williams, Jack Parfett Out: Brent Bulger, Zach Jenkins, Ash Leggett
Ins: Andrew Cameron, Jeremy Cronin, Francis Kinthari, Bradley Palipuaminni, Baydon Ngalkin, Gerard Cunningham, Valerian Munkanome Out: Aiden Lee, Tom Robinson, Aiden Marr
Ins: Kane Taylor, Alex Richardson, Carl Joyce Out: Mitch Wheler, Darcy McCallum
Ins: Bailey Bellville, Darcy Jones, Matthew Dyson
Ins: Beau Ketchen, Tyler Dittloff Out: Jed Millard, Andrew Parkinson
Ins: Lara Nambirajan, Chris Dahlstrom, Sam Leighmann, Craig Richards Out: Rhys Cronin, Jeremy Cronin, Harrison Cronin, Aaron Pianta, Jamie Bach
Ins: Ian Worsfold, Brent Bulger, Andrew Toan, Lachlan Douglas Out: Tom Thewlis, Ben Jackson, John Forbes
Ins: Rhys Cronin, Mitch Cronin Out:Trevor Wanganeen
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