Coming off two premierships last season, Diggers Rest coach Shaun Sims says there’s a different feeling heading into this season’s Riddell District Football League competition.
But the Burras know last year’s senior and reserves success means little as the new season dawns.
“It is a different feeling, but you [have to] refocus pretty quickly,” Sims said.
“You can’t let it run your season.
“It’s about refocusing and putting ourselves in the best possible position again.”
The Burras’ senior side will be a slightly different line-up from last year.
“Jase Williams has gone on to play at a higher level,” Sims said. “Luke Smailes has moved to Sydney and Cole Laurie has gone to Port Douglas. Shane Marchewka who played ruck in the grand final, isn’t going on.
“They’re things you can’t do anything about … Tom Evans received an offer too good to refuse.”
Sims said that with the departures, the club would field a younger side than it had in the past couple of years.
He said players who step up into the senior side deserve the opportunities they get.
“Chris Lawton and Corey Wright are expected to be more permanent fixtures this year … there’s going to be times when our ruckman, centre half-forward and full forward will be under 20.”
Another young player the Burras expect to see a lot of is Lachlan Langford, who has spent the past two years on Hawthorn’s rookie list.
Langford followed in the footsteps of his father and brother, who both played for Hawthorn.
Tom Gleeson will captain the side after Stuart Clarke stepped down from the role.
“It’s a bit more responsibility for Tom, and he’ll take it on with both hands. I think it’ll help him improve his footy,” Sims said.
The Burras start the season on April 8 against Riddell in a rematch of last season’s grand final.
The two have played each other in round one the past two seasons, with the Burras winning both clashes.
Sims said, despite breaking their premiership drought, nothing has changed for Diggers Rest.
“We have high expectations every year … our main aim is to play finals and finish as high as possible … we’ll focus on what we can control.”
In other round one matches, Wallan hosts Macedon, Lancefield takes on Woodend-Hesket and Rupertswood and Broadford will do battle.
Meanwhile, Melton Centrals face Rockbank, and Sunbury Kangaroos face Romsey in night matches.