One of the best players in the Bendigo Football Netball League won't play until round four.
Eaglehawk has elected to put star midfielder Brodie Filo in cotton wool and he won't play in the games against Kangaroo Flat, South Bendigo and Castlemaine.
The 2015 Michelsen Medal winner is coming off another big season in the Northern Territory Football League where he finished third in the league best and fairest and helped Nightcliff to a grand final win over St Marys.
The NTFL grand final was played on March 20 and Hawks' coach Travis Matheson decided it was best to give Filo a break.
"We're going to let him have a freshen up,'' Matheson said of Filo.
"He played 18 or 19 games over the summer in Darwin, so we don't want to wear him out or have him get an early injury.
"He was third in the league and won the ABC player of the year, so he had a good season.
"In 2019 he only played the last five or six games, so it will be exciting to see him play for most of the season."
On top of Filo's absence, the Hawks will also be without ruckman/key defender Clayton Holmes for the first half of the season after he underwent hip surgery.
Key defender Dylan Hanley was concussed in the Borough's final practice match and the club won't rush him back for Saturday's round one clash with Kangaroo Flat.
Eaglehawk fans are eagerly awaiting their first look at key midfield recruits Billy Evans and Noah Wheeler.
On the back of impressive pre-season form, Evans and Wheeler will be a tough test for Kangaroo Flat's developing midfield unit.
"Billy has been at the club 18 months and hasn't played a game, so it's been a long time coming,'' Matheson said.
"Noah has played well in the practice matches as well. It's exciting to see them play for the club."
With Kangaroo Flat an unknown quality going into round one, Matheson's focus was purely on how his side prepares.
"It's going to be a funny season, particularly early on, because of the uncertainty around who is still at clubs and who is not,'' Matheson said.
"Our focus this week will be on how we operate as a team. We want to make sure we get our offence and defence the way we want it to look. Hopefully, the rest looks after itself."
The Eaglehawk-Kangaroo Flat game will be played from 5pm under the new lights at Canterbury Park.
The football action starts at 1.25pm with the under-18s, followed by the reserves at 3.12pm.
In the netball, the 17-and-under and B-grade games start at 2pm, the B-reserve and A-reserve at 3.30pm, with the A-grade to follow at 5pm.
Saturday's senior football clash between Sandhurst and Maryborough at the QEO has been brought forward to 12.30pm.
The reserves football starts at 10.30am. There is no under-18 football game.
The A-grade netball and 17-and-under netball starts at 11.30am, the B-reserve is scheduled for 1pm and the B-grade at 2.30pm.
Read more: Club-by-club guide to the BFNL season
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