THERE would be plenty of easier assignments for a coach stepping up to A-grade for the first time.
But Mount Pleasant's new leader Carine Comer is undaunted by a first-up clash against HDFNL powerhouse Elmore on Saturday.
The Bloods took all before them last year, producing an unbeaten season on the way to collecting the minor premiership before finals were cancelled.
They already have one win on the board this season, after starting their season earlier than all but three other teams last week against Colbinabbin.
While assignments won't come much tougher in 2022, Comer is embracing the challenge.
"The nerves are there, but I'm just looking forward to getting the season started now. It's pretty exciting," she said.
"We are straight up against the best, apparently, but it will give us a good chance to see where we measure up in the league.
"If we don't come away with the four points it gives us something to look at on how we can get there next time."
The Blues will be without their goal shooting recruit Liv Slattery, who is injured, but regain their former coach Chantal Moore, who will slot into defence alongside Ivy Harrop.
At the other end, Alex Hamilton will partner Megan Baird in the goal circle.
Comer said she was happy with the Blues' practice match form and overall preparation despite a few injuries and absences at different stages.
"The last game (against Strathfieldsaye) we were missing half a team, so it didn't really give us a great indication of where we were at, but the first couple I was really happy with," she said.
"It's great to have Channy (Chantal Moore) back, she's a great leader."
Minus joint coach Allira Holmes, young gun Abby Hromenko and rebounding defender Tahnee Cannan, Elmore got the four points it desired with a 14-goal win over Colbinabbin last week.
Fellow coach Gabe Richards hinted the Bloods would again be below full-strength, with goal attack Hromenko a certainty to return and Cannan and Holmes both possibilities.
"We've had a few players sick and a few injured, but we are getting there," she said.
"It's a bit of a juggling act, but it's going to be like that all season.
"We were pretty rusty last week - we haven't trained with a full team yet.
"I don't think we will be full strength for some time, but we are getting there.
"As long as we get wins along the way, they don't have to be pretty and they don't have to be by a lot."
The Bloods had Sophie McLean (GD), Ellie Laffy (WA) and Abbey McLean (GA) all step up against the Grasshoppers and be solid contributors.
Richards, a premiership player with Mount Pleasant alongside current Bloods team-mate Andrea Wilson, is expecting a fierce challenge from her former HDFNL club.
"I know that last year when we played them they were super tenacious and just went after everything regardless of the score," she said.
"They were tough and just chased everything, so I would expect more of the same."
In other games, impressive first-round winner Heathcote hosts Huntly, a rebounding Colbinabbin clashes with North Bendigo, and a reasonably new-look White Hills faces expected improvers Lockington-Bamawm United.
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