Ready for the first bounce Aussie rules returns
AHEAD of the first bounce this year Hervey Bay's Bay Power have lost two star players including last season's captain Josh Crowder.
Bay Power will take on Brothers Bulldogs in tomorrow's season opening clash in Bundaberg.
New squad members taking the field include Dale Burt, Marty Giollo and Dean Backwell, who returns after winning a grand final in Mackay last year.
But the excitement of securing new members has been diminished with the loss of two senior and talented players.
Last year's captain Josh Crowder will not play this season and Brad Williams has taken the next step in his career.
Williams has moved to Brisbane to participate in the Simon Black academy for rising stars.
Power coach Michael Gay said work done in the pre-season meant the side was looking fitter than ever before.
"We're training harder with more intensity and that's what is doing the job," he said.
It was a disappointing 2015 for Power with the side struggling to run for all four quarters.
Gay said that had been put behind them and the side was "pretty excited" for this season to get underway.
"Brothers Bulldogs are a fairly solid team and we've had some quality games against them in the past," he said.
About six under-17 players who have helped in A-grade in the past few years will again help.
The Coast's other Aussie rules hope comes with the Hervey Bay Bombers.
President Roger Wagner was confident of starting the season well.
"We've got a pretty good young side this year with a bit of speed," he said.
Wagner admits the new players could take a while to gel in the side.
"It will be a few games until they really hit their stride," he said.
Last year's lack of fitness in the side is hoped to be a thing of the past when the Bombers shape-up against Nambour tomorrow in Urangan.
"They're a new side to us this year and we have a few newer sides to play," Wagner said.
"It will add a bit of extra interest to the competition this year."
With the AFL Wide Bay Seniors competition kicking off on Saturday across the region, Brothers will hope to shed the heartbreak of last year's two-goal loss to Across the Waves in the grand final.
Brothers' coach Brad Grogan said the team had managed to recruit some new talent but most importantly had retained some of its younger players.
"The big plus for us this year is retaining our five under-17 players," he said.
"Ash Rendall, Lachlan Wood, Lewis McClure, Ben Scott are all playing for us this year."
The side will also see the return of Joel Saunders to the club who spent the summer playing for Brothers Cricket Club.
It had also recruited Cole Crowther, who returns to the region after a stint in the Victorian Football League.
This season, the competition takes on a new look with four Sunshine teams involved.
The Wide Bay teams will play Gympie, Pomona, Maryborough and Nambour once each.
No matter which team it comes up against, Grogan said his side will hold no fear.
"Last year our goal was to make the grand final, which we did," he said.
"This year our goal, with this playing group, is to win the grand final.
"We are not scared of any team."
Reigning premiers ATW begin the defence of its title with a road trip to Pomona.