Goorambat is a team in the midst of construction and transition.
Following last year’s success with a semi final appearance, the side has lost a number of players to Benalla-based clubs.
But that is not enough to put off head coach Shane McKean, as he said his side could not wait for the challenges ahead.
‘‘There’s kind of a feeling of unknown as we head into the year,’’ McKean said.
‘‘We’re a bit different than we were last year in that we have an influx of youth and younger players on the list as well as some older and more experienced guys returning.
‘‘There’s a new feel around the place and it’s kind of unknown as to how competitive we’ll be and how we’ll go this year.’’
It will not be an unknown quantity for long though, as the Bats take on pre-season flag-favourites Milawa away at Greta on Saturday.
‘‘We certainly have some tough weeks ahead against tough sides and the more game time we can get to them (younger players) the better,’’ McKean said.
‘‘The ladder I think is irrelevant this year — it’s more about the experience for the young guys at this stage.’’
With a number of older players retiring at the end of last season, as well as younger players heading to the Benalla Saints and Benalla All Blacks, McKean said the club had done well to hold onto as many players as it did.
‘‘As I said, it’s a bit of an unknown, so we’re just focusing on game time for the young guys although we’ve had quite a few retirees and guys head back to play at Benalla,’’ he said.
‘‘We did get four kids who played in the thirds finals for Benalla (Saints) and Shane Rodwell is back after a few years overseas. So he’s a really good experienced player for us.’’
McKean said although some losses had been hard to stomach, his side looked forward to the challenge Milawa presented this weekend.
‘‘We’re transitioning and we’re trying to rejuvenate the list and focus on youth and development,’’ he said.
‘‘That’s our main goal and our key focus. We’ll be as competitive as possible during that process.’’