NEW Colbinabbin coach Georgia Rodger says the off-season has 'felt like forever', but she can't wait for the Grasshoppers to hit the court for the first time this season at Elmore on Saturday.
For the first time since 2015, the Grasshoppers won't start the season as reigning premiers after losing a nail-biting grand final to White Hills last September.
But despite the appointment of a new coach and some changes in personnel, it's business as usual for the perennial powerhouse as they look to assert themselves on the competition early in the season.
"We really want to capitalise on that opportunity early in the season to get a good hard hit-out," said Rodger, who has replaced dual premiership coach Liz Cobbledick, who remains as a player.
"It will be good to get a tough tussle and hopefully lift the standard of the league.
"We can't wait to get out on the park and see how we all gel with a few new girls in the side and iron out the creases."
The Grasshoppers will welcome back Carly Ladson, after a season at Golden Square, and will also call on Jacqueline Dupuy, the sister of Louise, now based in Cairns, to help out in the early in the season.
Rodger, who joined Colbinabbin as a player last season, said she was more excited than nervous for her first run as a playing coach.
"The beauty I have had with my past two coaches, Lizzy and Dylan Nexhip back at Benalla Saints, is that I was quite close to both of them and I was able to brainstorm and contribute," she said.
"What that's taught me is not to stress about this weekend.
"We have a really high-calibre of girls who know who I am and what to expect and what I expect, so it will be great to get into it."
While a clash against the team, which has won three of the last four grand finals might hold fears for some, Elmore coach Sue Borserio said her side was embracing the challenge as the Bloods aim to build on last season's impressive gains and first finals appearance since 2012.
"The players have put in an excellent pre-season and have great match fitness going into round one.," she said.
"Saturday's game against Colbinabin will give us great knowledge of what areas we need to work on and also our strengths as a team.
"They are an experienced team with years of playing together and we will enjoy the contest they present to us."
Borserio will wait until Saturday before finalising her side, with star recruit Ruby Barkmeyer no certainty to line-up with her new club.
However, the second-year coach confirmed it would be a big day for at least one other Elmore youngster.
"Cayde Hayes will make her official debut as an A-grade player at the tender age of 14," Borserio said.
"She is an amazingly skilled athlete and has been a shining light in our practice matches with her dazzling speed.
"She has been a stand out in goals combining well with our talls.
"Chloe Hay has also worked hard on her fitness and has earned herself a position in our defence circle."
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