ONE of the Heathcote District Football League's most anticipated seasons gets under way on Saturday when reigning premier Lockington-Bamawm United unfurls its 2013 flag against Colbinabbin.
The Cats have been the power of the HDFL for the past three years, but there appears no shortage of contenders this season lining up to end their dominance.
The Cats have a new coach at the helm this year in one of the HDFL's premier onballers, Adrian Dohnt,
Taking on the defending premiers at Lockington in round one gives Colbinabbin the chance to make an early statement, but the Grasshoppers will need to be at their best to topple the champions.
• White Hills makes what looms as one of the HDFL's toughest road trips this season when it takes on Leitchville-Gunbower at Leitchville.
The Bombers - who have beaten White Hills just once in eight meetings - have recruited well again over the pre-season and loom as a genuine premiership threat.
There's also increased expectations on White Hills this season. The Demons have tapped heavily into the Bendigo Football League in their recruiting as they aim to improve on last year's seventh-placed finish.
• The new-look star-studded Mount Pleasant is at home to Huntly in what's one of the most intriguing games of the round.
The Blues were the talking points of the HDFL early in the pre-season when they landed not only the experienced Derrick Filo as coach, but the star Eaglehawk trio of Kain Robins, Matt Gretgrix and Tim Hill.
Huntly - last year's runners-up - has retained 17 of its grand final side as it aims to go one better than last season and win that first flag.
• Elmore and Heathcote lock horns in what's a match between two sides that have been left out of most pre-season finals predictions.
Elmore under new coach Stephen Arthur will field virtually a brand new team to the one that won just one game last year and finished last, while the Saints have been happy to fly under the radar during the off-season.