Bacchus Marsh captain-coach James Lidgett is looking forward to the challenge the new Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup brings.

Coming off a second successive top flight premiership, it will be a new-look Bulls side this season.

Lidgett said it was a challenge he was looking forward to.

“I’m really excited from a coaching point of view,” he said.

“It’s a chance to look at some of the younger players coming through, they deserve the opportunity.

“It’s why we didn’t go out and grab too many players, we have depth and people are knocking down the door.

“They can’t knock on it forever.”

A big chunk of last season’s premiership team isn’t returning, which will mean some new faces in the side.

Last season’s joint Sullivan medallist for the best player in the competition, Madushanka Ekanayake has crossed to Darley in the Ballarat Cricket Association.

Ekanayake has been the star bowler in the competition in his time at Bacchus Marsh.

Daniel Lalor is looking to try his talents at Victoria Premier Cricket, which also means his father Peter Lalor can’t commit full-time as he does the driving for his son.

Lidgett said Dennis O’Loughlin, Rhys Watson, Mili Sepala and Jared Taylor all look like they aren’t playing this season.

Despite the departures, Lidgett said preparations for the season had been really positive.

“It’s full steam ahead,” he said.

“We’ve had great numbers at training, we had nearly 50 on a work day last week. That is ridiculous.

“We’ve got 40-plus a couple of times and we’re looking pretty strong.

“We’re looking at fielding six teams. We did flirt with the idea of having seven.”

Lidgett was keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of inclusions to the club.

The only one he would mention is Kasun Suriaratchie. It was announced in June on social media that he was joining the club.

“He played one game in the twos last season,” Lidgett said. “He’s got quite a bit of experience and has just moved locally.

“We’re keeping things close to our chest, but he’s one of the bigger ones.”

Lidgett said he expected the likes of Lachie Payne, Mace Cousins and Connor Ascough to all push for selection in the senior side.

The three youngsters were all part of the club’s second XI grand final side last year.

Despite all the changes, Lidgett is confident they will again be in the mix as they chase a third straight premiership.

“I think we will be really strong and we’ll definitely give it a crack,” he said.

“We’ll be a little bit more inconsistent.

“It is interesting and I don’t mind it myself. The boys are still keen and hungry and there’s new blood that will want to be up there.

“We’ll push hard throughout.”

Bacchus Marsh faces Gisborne in a grand final rematch in round one. The club’s top four sides all face the Dragons to kick off the season.