Werribee will have to be switched on from the get-go in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association south-west group.
The Tigers have the unenviable task of confronting powerhouse Caulfield in their opening game of the season at Chirnside Park on Saturday.
Last summer, the Tigers missed out on the finals by just one game, which was mainly due to their horror start to the season, going winless over the opening six rounds.
If Werribee is to make a hot start this time around, it will have to do it the hard way.
Tigers captain-coach Tim O’Brien has not come up against Caulfield since it beat Werribee in the semi-final of the 2015-16 season, but has enough evidence to know it will be a tough first up examination.
“It definitely will be a tough test,” he said.
“They’ve won the last two premierships, so we’re coming up against a good and respectable club.
“It gives us a good opportunity for the players to test themselves against a quality side.”
Werribee has been training for the new season since early August.
The Tigers preparation has largely been confined to indoor sessions, but towards the end of September, they did get a chance to train outdoors.
A camp in Shepparton was a highlight of the pre-season.
The Tigers played an intra-club game and did important team bonding.
“It’s been a pretty good pre-season,” O’Brien said. “It was good to get away to Shepparton.”
The sight of fast bowler James Freeman steaming in was a welcome one for Werribee supporters.
The paceman has returned to the club after a year out of the game and is fit, fresh and firing.
“He’s back after having a year off, so that’s a big get for us,” O’Brien said.
“He won our club championship two years ago.
“He was bowling pretty quick up there in Shepparton and was looking pretty fit.
“He’s probably come back fitter than what he was when he was last playing.”
Werribee has brought in Andrew Ford to bolster its batting.
Ford was a proven performer at VTCA level as playing coach at Wyndhamvale and Footscray United.
He will be hoping that form can translate to sub-district cricket.
“He looks like he can play a bit,” O’Brien said.
“He can concentrate on his own game without having to focus on coaching.
“It will be good to see how he goes when he can solely focus on his batting.”
Werribee won last season’s second XI premiership, so there will be some players knocking on the door from that side.
The Tigers are hoping it will create pressure on spots in the first XI.
“We’ve got some good young talent coming through,” O’Brien said.
Meanwhile, Hoppers Crossing will begin its season on home soil, entertaining Taylors Lakes at Hogans Road Reserve. The Cats also finished a game outside the top six last season and will be one of those clubs pushing for the finals.