IT WILL be a relatively new-look Colbinabbin team which hits the court for its season opener against Elmore on Saturday.
The Grasshoppers, who together with White Hills, have largely dominated the HDFNL A-grade netball competition during the past decade, culminating in eight-straight grand finals appearances from 2012 to 2019, will likely field just three players from its regular 2019 line-up.
They are playing coach Lou Dupuy, star centre Olivia McEvoy and the versatile Jess Geary, while a fourth link to their recent golden era, multiple premiership player Holly Guerra has returned following basically two years away, after not playing in 2019 and 2020 due to COVID.
From there, the faces are fresh.
The Grasshoppers struck gold late in the pre-season by luring Wedderburn premiership star Ella Turnbull back to Colbinabbin.
The versatile Turnbull was set to appear in green and yellow during the cancelled 2020 season, but spent most of the 2021 pre-season with BFNL club South Bendigo before a last-minute change of mind.
Dupuy labelled her inclusion as 'very handy'.
"It was only quite a recent thing, but it's super-exciting," she said.
"We also have a new goaler by the name of Courtney Orwell (from the Sunraysia league), who is a new player to the club and has fitted in well."
Of most excitement to Dupuy is the emergence of promising youngsters Tanzin Myers, who can play in any position on the court, and strong goaler Ella Kerlin.
"I couldn't be happier to have those young girls running alongside some of us older ones," she said.
"We also have Paige Crouch, who's not necessarily one of the older ones, but is definitely a bit older than the younger ones, so there's a nice blend there."
Saturday's match marks a return to A-grade coaching for Dupuy.
She has not coached at the top level since leading both the club's A-grade and A-reserve teams to premiership glory in 2015. She is clearly excited by the new challenge.
"It's something a bit new and I've always enjoyed a challenge - being on the court and playing and having my mind on coaching can be tricky at times, but I'm looking forward to it," she said.
"I'm coaching A-res again, so I'll be happy to be on the sidelines for that one.
"I do like doing both jobs and having a nice big squad of girls, with players who are able to move between the two teams if needed."
While her continued high-calibre play across the years, including a best on court medal in the Grasshoppers' 2016 premiership win, has demonstrated her outstanding ability to meet most challenges on the netball court, Dupuy is anticipating another big one against Elmore.
The Bloods opened their season in great style with a 59-41 win over reigning back-to-back premiers White Hills in their standalone Good Friday game.
Dupuy, who will likely have the biggest job of all on gun Elmore signing Gabe Richards, said the Bloods' bright start to the season came as no surprise.
"They were great in 2019 as well, Sue (Borserio) is doing a really great job with them," she said.
'They were always going to be strong.
"For us, it will be as much about trying out some new combinations and different girls and checking out our depth.
"It's a new line-up that people won't have seen together before, so it will be a good chance for me to try a few new things out with players."
Meanwhile, Elmore coach Sue Borserio could not have been happier with her side's first-up effort against White Hills.
While the inclusions of imposing goal shooter Richards and her former Mount Pleasant and Golden Square team-mate Andrea Wilson drew most of the headlines, Borserio praised the play of some of the Bloods' youngsters.
"Steph Donnellon fed the ball great to the goalers, while Abbey Hromenko really found her groove in the second half of the game and lifted everyone around her with her amazing turn of speed and accuracy at the post," she said.
"We are possibly similar to Colbo in that way, we have a very young squad too with players like Abbey Hromenko (18), Cayde Hayes (16), Madi McInnes (16), Sophie Giles (15), Ellie Donnellon (18), Maddi Keating (18) and Kira Niven (18) all either playing A -grade or rotating through A-grade for experience."
Borserio said the late signings of Richards and Wilson had been welcomed by all at Elmore.
"Both Gabe and Andrea are wonderful athletes and we are learning lots from their experience," she said.
Eager to test themselves early in the season, the Bloods are embracing a second-straight match to start the season against one of the 2019 season's grand finalists.
"Colbo and White Hills have been amazing for a very long time and are respected by all of us," she said.
"We are just so grateful to be able to play this year and enjoy being together and playing every club."
In other HDFNL games this weekend, North Bendigo hosts Huntly, Heathcote clashes with Lockington Bamawm United at Barrack Reserve, and White Hills plays Leitchville-Gunbower.
Mount Pleasant has a bye.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.