The long wait is finally over.
This weekend the much-awaited 2022 Central Victoria Football League Women's season kicks into action.
In total there will be eight teams within the competition, which includes Castlemaine Football Netball Club making its debut.
Here's a club-by-club preview on all the teams ahead of what's bound to be the most competitive season in the league's history.
Coach: Jac Louttit
Placing when season ended last year: 2nd (9-3, 310.62%)
Arrivals: Jess Kennedy, Jacqui Graham, Isabella Ayre
Inaugural 2018 CVFL Women's premiers Bendigo Thunder are primed for a strong return to full force this season.
Premiership player Jac Louttit is back at the club and will coach the Thunder in 2022 alongside assistant Isabella Ayre.
Looking ahead to the season, Louttit is enthusiastic to be back at the club where she'd found previous success.
"It's terrific that I can now give back to the Thunder as a coach after having so many years of success with the club as a player," Louttit said
Louttit is taking the reins from Luis Alvarez-Harris, who had coached the club since 2018.
After finishing second on the ladder behind Golden Square, the team has been hard at work during pre-season with the aim of going all the way in 2022.
This year's squad features players who've come across from other codes, in addition to some who've played at the highest level in both the AFLW and VFLW.
"The team is shaping up really well, which includes some new faces, but also some very experienced players who are going to help the club progress to the next step."
Coach: Tiahna Cochrane
Placing when season ended last year: Debut
Arrivals: Lily McNair, Shelby Knoll, Meg Ginnivan, Michelle Barkla
The spotlight is on Castlemaine as it prepares for its long-awaited debut in the league.
After starting her career as a junior at the Castlemaine Football Netball Club, more than anything Tiahna Cochrane longed-for the day she would be able to play with the Magpies again.
This year she won't just play for the club, but is also coaching the senior women.
Backed by experience playing in the AFLW, a premiership with Golden Square and a raft of strong signings - Cochrane is ready to get down to business.
"We've been tracking well during pre-season and overall very pleased with the group of girls that we've put together," Cochrane said.
"There's plenty of talent, but also positive vibes from a group that wants to keep learning to ensure we continually improve together."
Castlemaine heads into the season on the back of recently winning the atWork Australia pre-season cup final against Echuca.
The competition gave Cochrane an insight into how her team performs in game-day settings.
"It was pleasing to see the strong relationship the girls have with each other on the field," Cochrane said.
"They have trust and read off each other during games. The way they were able to link up the ball from the midfield to the forward was also incredibly strong."
Coach: Geoff West
Placing when season ended last year: 3rd (9-3, 231.09%)
Arrivals: Lucy Dawe, Drew Ryan
Departures: Taylor Bellesini, Rachel Thomas
On the back of Eaglehawk 's most successful season in the CVFLW competition, coach Geoff West returns for 2022.
After finishing 2021 in third position on the ladder, West's enthusiasm to get back-to-business in 2022 couldn't be higher.
"Pre-season has been very strong as the girls are hungry to get to work after not being able to fully complete the season last year," West said.
The squad has lost a couple of experienced players due to injury, however, the roster has been bolstered with young players who are eager to make their senior debuts.
"In terms of our playing-style we will be much the same and will aim to move the ball well at both ends of the field," West said.
"We have plenty of experience and youth and our aim is to be competitive and battling it out with the league's top teams."
West said the team's performance last year, which saw them finish third, but equal on points to the Thunder, was testament to Eaglehawk's growth within the CVFLW.
"Overall the team has been embraced by the club and it really is great to be a part of the EFNC," he said.
Coach: Todd Deary
Placing when season ended last year: 1st (12-0, 931.97%) - Minor premiers
Arrivals: Emily Collins, Ireland Hall, Charlotte Beavan, Jayda Smith, Emma Gillian, Tegan Williams, Jorja Vandenberg
Departures: Tiahna Cochrane, Ella Cochrane, Danielle Fitzpatrick, Alannah Rowland, Ebony McLean, Ella Turnbull, Lily Campbell
It's the beginning of a new chapter at Wade Street.
Under new coach Todd Deary, who has come up to the top job after five years of leading the club's under-18 girls, the reigning minor premiers will look to continue on the same path to success.
"Moving up to the seniors is a completely different world than the under-18s and it's a challenge that I am really looking forward to," Deary said.
Deary takes over from co-coaches Carly and Rick Ladson, who led the team to the minor premiership in the 2021 COVID-19 interrupted season.
"I've taken on a team that's very established with key game plans and structures that are already in place," Deary said.
"My goal is to finetune some of our new players, which includes under-18s who have come up to the senior level.
"But most importantly ensure the girls enjoy playing together and have a generally successful season."
Coach: Stephen Arthur
Placing when season ended last year: 7th (4-8, 48.05%)
Arrivals: Zalie Ash, Stephanie Brennan, Rebecca Zerbe
Departures: Rachael Booth, Kerri-Ann Zeunert, Kristen Hall
Like most teams during pre-season and after last year's interruptions - overall numbers have been a challenge for Kerang.
However, under new coach Stephen Arthur, who has taken over from Jon Roberts, everything is now in place for the club's second year playing in the CVFLW.
"Everything is now looking fairly positive and we're eager to get going in what's going to be a really good season," Arthur said.
Arthur is no stranger to the Blues having coached the reserves from 2011-12 in addition to years of senior experience at several other clubs across multiple age groups.
He is also currently on the inaugural Central Murray Football League Under-14 girls advisory committee and has a passion for helping build elite pathways for aspiring female players.
In addition to overall skills and development, Arthur has used the pre-season as an opportunity to pass on his philosophies as a coach to set the path for success this year.
"I see myself as more of a teaching coach than someone who rants and raves," Arthur said.
"My method is to focus on the positives and pass on my knowledge of the game I've learnt over the years.
"If players make mistakes, it doesn't matter as I will help them learn to broaden their skills."
Coach: Phil Hawkes
Placing when season ended last year: 6th (4-8, 48.66%)
Arrivals: Emma Williams, Taylah Moore, Stacey Wingrave, Madeline Stott
Departures: Mikaela Holman
A strong contingent of players from other codes and clubs will bolster Kyneton's ranks this season.
Under head coach Phil Hawkes' first year at the helm in 2021, the Tigers finished the COVID-19 interrupted season in sixth position on the ladder with a 4-8 record.
Hawkes, who's mantra is about long-term growth at the club, said the team was certain to be more competitive.
"Overall we've had very consistent numbers during pre-season where our main focus has been improving overall fitness," he said.
"With some of our new additions I feel our team will be more balanced and have more depth.
"This year is about continuing to move in the right direction and getting the players to a headspace that will allow them to find success each weekend on the football field.
"If we're able to do this well then we will be a very competitive side."
Coach: Ricky Crotty
Placing when season ended last year: 8th (0-12, 0.91%)
Arrivals: Rachael Booth, Kerri-Ann Zeunert,
There's no denying it was a tough year for North Bendigo in 2021.
Unable to find a win during the interrupted season and battling playing numbers each week - the team then dug deep to find success by other means in the way of focusing on developing and improving for 2022.
With Ricky Crotty taking over as solo head coach, the Bulldogs look primed for a strong return.
"We've got a really strong playing group and a full team to start the season," Crotty said.
"Things are looking really exciting."
The Bulldogs have put in the hard yards at Atkins Street during pre-season and will hit the ground running in round one against Eaglehawk.
"The momentum has been slowly building," Crotty said.
"After another COVID-19 interrupted season last year we're now eager to have a red-hot crack.
"This year you can expect a lot more pace across the field, paired with improved skill and poise around the ball.
"Having Eaglehawk straight up in round one is going to be a good opportunity to see where we are at as a team and what we need to work on."
Looking ahead to the year as coach Crotty was confident in his ability to lead the Bulldogs to success.
"I am really excited for the opportunity.
"I feel confident and going into the season I have great preparation and a strong team that wants to play together and succeed."
Coach: Jake Donegan
Placing when season ended last year: 5th (5-7, 96.64%)
Arrivals: Britt Tangey
Departures: Taylah Moore, Angela Gamble, Tameeka Morrissey
It's shaping up to be a strong year for Strathfieldsaye Storm.
Senior coach Jake Donegan is back at the helm of a squad that features several under-18 players who will make their senior debut.
"We're looking really good," Donegan said.
"After last year's improvements hopefully we continue on the same path and become even better.
"Especially with the addition of new faces that will bring that extra level to the playing group to allow us to be even more competitive."
The 2022 season marks Donegan's second as head coach and another opportunity for him to refine his ability in the top job.
"The great thing about my role is I learn something new every day," he said.
"This year I am feeling even more equipped for the season ahead and self-assured in what I need to do to convey information to the group.
"That's the best thing about the team - when I deliver a clear message, they always listen."
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