For the first time since 2008, clubs from the Picola District Football League’s north-west and south-east competitions will go toe-to-toe.
After the divisions merged after the league’s decision not to affiliate with AFL Goulburn Murray, Blighty and Katunga will be the first of the sides from the opposite divisions to meet.
For Blighty, last season was a quality year with a third place finish in the north-west division.
But the merging leagues throws up a new challenge for Blighty playing coach Jack Tyndall, who admits he knows little about what to expect from Katunga.
‘‘Obviously we don’t know a lot about Katunga — I don’t even know where that is having only joined the Picola League after it was split into divisions,’’ he said with a laugh.
‘‘We have no idea what to expect, but they seem to have recruited well.
‘‘There’s a fair bit of unknown for us, but we’ll stick to our guns and look for a good start.’’
The Swans will pose a big threat at home, adding former Richmond and Sydney AFL talent Tom Derickx to their list.
However, Blighty’s key inclusions of Tanner Robertson (Deni Rovers) and Dane Maxwell (Tocumwal) add to a talented list that already includes reigning league best-and-fairest Jed Brain.
‘‘We got in a few big blokes to free up some of our guys down back,’’ Tyndall said.
‘‘Tom Billings has returned to the club. He was a part of the 2000 flag and will be huge for our ruck stocks.
‘‘We’ve also had Matt Jackson join us from Finley late in the pre-season, so he’ll slot straight in.
‘‘Ben Littmann, Marcus Jackson and Leigh Culton are all playing after strong pre-season performances.
‘‘We’re rewarding those who have trained hard. We want to build a culture where players have to earn their spot in the side.’’
Missing from the line-up this week will be key defender Rob Resuggan (rested), as well as midfielders Tom Draffin (rested) and Ryan Chadderton (travelling).
Despite the missing key players, Tyndall said his side’s pumped to get the new season going.
‘‘It’s something we’ve been working towards since late November, so everyone is pretty excited,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a bit of an unknown for us, as none of us have played against the new teams except a few of the older blokes.
‘‘Not too much changes though, Waaia is meant to be pretty strong, but we’re pretty confident with what we’ve got and hopefully we’ll be thereabouts.’’
Selection: Blighty by five goals.