THE 2013 Gippsland Soccer League season kicks off this weekend with plenty of expectations heaped on the 10 competing teams.
Round one will begin with Falcons 2000 hosting Newborough Yallourn United in a Saturday night clash at 8pm at Latrobe Sports and Entertainment Stadium.
The usual end-of-season transfers have taken place and some clubs saw massive changes to their rosters.
Fortuna has refreshed its playing list significantly with their senior team set to feature several new faces, and a new coach.
After playing bridesmaid to the ever powerful Churchill team in last year’s grand final, Fortuna looks strong and should be among the most improved outifts.
Churchill has also revamped its squad and will rely on its depth and the promotion of some existing players for strength.
Replicating the unprecedented success of the treble in 2013 will be near impossible, and the Rams will almost certainly come back to the pack a little this year.
Traralgon City has promoted a new coach from within the ranks and will be keen to capitalise on great numbers coming through the club, especially at youth level.
After showing glimpses of brilliance last season, the Roosters may just bring it all together in 2013 to provide a real challenge to last year’s contenders.
Monash United, another club with great numbers, has entered a second division team this year, increasing their pool of players to pick from.
With the return of a coach that has brought them success in the past, expect Monash to play some consistent football this year.
Moe United has retained Lee Dastey as senior coach, and the disappointment of missing the finals in 2012 should motivate improvement this year.
The squad has largely remained intact but a couple of key additions should hold them in good stead.
Sale United recently won its first Kendal Cup, a tournament the club hosts at the start of each season, and will take that form into round one and beyond.
After having trouble with consistency in 2012, causing the odd upset and dropping games they should have won, Sale still came close to making the grand final and has ambitions of reaching the decider in this campaign.
Falcons 2000 recruited well in the off season and will focus on development of youth to achieve success.
With the coaching staff remaining stable and a strong team off the park, expect improvement this year.
Tyers will field a full complement of teams this season, with an influx to the reserves offering a bigger selection base.
Newborough Yallourn United will also be looking for improvement with a new coach and a focus on hard work and youth.
Traralgon Olympians is again a mystery this year; after fielding one of the best teams on paper last year, Olympians could not get it to gel on the park when needed.
With some great inclusions to their list this proud club will be aiming for gold.
The women’s competition also kicks off this week with Churchill, Tyers, Fortuna and Newborough again expected to be strong.
Traralgon City, along with Monash, should also show some improvement.
East Gippsland United Football Club is entering a team into the senior women’s competition for the first time after strong representation in the under 17 girls last year.
That growth extends to an EGUFC men’s team entered into the central second division for the first time, giving an opportunity for players from the Bairnsdale area to play senior football.
They will be joined by Churchill, Traralgon City and Monash after teams from Trafalgar Victory and Morwell Pegasus decided to compete in the South League.