THE Traralgon and District Cricket Association returns this weekend with some high profile recruits ready to take the competition by storm.
In a change of pace round one will be a Twenty20 fixture to get the year off to a cracking start.
Last season: 1st
Captain: Shaun Barbour
Ins: Ryan Vickery (w/k batsman, Essex UK)
Outs: Grantley Switzer (retired), Will Cheatley (Trafalgar)
THE reigning premier goes into season 2014/15 under no illusions about the massive task ahead to go back-to-back.
The Tigers will be without at least two players from their premiership line-up, and are sweating on the availability of star all-rounder and best and fairest winner Stuart Anderson.
Kade Joske has indicated he will not be available for all games, while gun batsman Adrian Burgiel is another who could miss a few matches.
Club veteran Grantley Switzer’s departure will leave a void in the experience department, while brother Travis has stepped down from the captaincy.
New skipper Shaun Barbour and vice captain Adam Brady will bowl lots of overs, while Kent Hammond, Al Jenkin and Travis Switzer will be called upon to make plenty of runs.
Last season: 2nd
Captain: Michael Warne
Outs: Lee Stockdale, Ryan Allan, Rory Hare, Rob Voss
THE Sharks enter this year with a huge reliance on their incredible depth in B grade.
The loss of Lee Stockdale, who has returned to premier cricket with Fitzroy Doncaster, cannot be filled and with Rob Voss’ shift away Ex Students will go without its best two players.
Michael Warne is confident his up and coming young guns Jackson McMahon and Mitchell Membrey will take a big step forward.
Greg Munro returns after a great season and will be relied on to score the bulk of the runs, while Rick Battista must have a 300-plus campaign for the Sharks to challenge.
Last season: 3rd
Captain: Sam Marks
Ins: Jarrod Allan (Centrals), Max Merton (Rosedale)
THIS could well be the season Glengarry breaks its semi-final hoodoo and goes all the way.
With Gormandale and Ex Students losing quality players, Glengarry appears certain to be a top two side after picking up star player Jarrod Allan.
Bursting with talent, Glengarry must go one step further this year.
Ben Julin is on the verge of taking the TDCA apart, while Ben and Frank Marks, along with Ryan Delaney and Hayden Ross Schultz are in their prime.
Last Season: 4th
Captain: Brad Knowles (unconfirmed)
RAIDERS had a break-out season last year and will look to continue their improvement.
Brad Knowles could reportedly miss the start of the season with a knee injury.
In that case Raiders would rely heavily on Liam Maynard, Mick Higgins and Kurt Holt to win enough games to challenge in the top four.
Last Season: 5th
Captain: Dean Rode
Ins: Dylan Freitag, Dave Hoskins (batsman, Cornwall UK), Al Johnson (bowler, North Norfolk UK)
Outs: Jarrod Allan.
LOSING key player Jarrod Allan will not help Centrals, but the return of Dylan Freitag, who engineered two premierships in Bairnsdale as a captain-coach, is a huge boost.
The form of the club’s two English imports will be vital, along with Corey Pollard, who had a stellar season last year.
Last Season: 6th
Prediction: 5th- 8th
Captain: Nick Duncan
New captain Nick Duncan will be confident the Cobras can challenge for a finals berth this year.
The availability of gun bats John Keighran and Ben Kearns will be vital for Churchill to win games, while an English recruit is in the cards.
Last season 7th
Captain: Matt Golding
Outs: John Mayman (Melb), Steve Nicholls (Melb)
THE Rams welcome back last year’s star player and reigning GCL cricketer of the year Matt Golding.
After a brilliant debut with Toongabbie, the Englishman will return to help push the side up the ladder.
Toongabbie will likely draw on its talented young players who finished runner-up in the Central Gippsland colts competition last year to groom some future senior stars.
Last season: 8th
Captain: Peter Ingwersen
Ins: Rick Martin (Yall Nth)
ROVERS will look to the experience of Peter Ingwersen in the hopes of a jump up the pecking order.
With a talented junior base to work from the future looks bright.
Simon Duff, Nilla Thillekarathna and Todd Mann will need to play at their best for Rovers to challenge the top sides.
Gun junior Dougal Williams and Stefan Sbaglia will continue their improvement at senior level.
Last Season: 9th
Captain: Luke Henderson
Ins: Luke Henderson (Ex Students), Brett Chapman (batsman/keeper CATS), Daniel Hamilton (batsman, Buln Buln CC), Mitchell Goodwin (bowler, Buln Buln CC), Nat Campbell (bowler, Churchill CC), Stuart Jones (batsman Cosely CC, UK)
Outs: Alex Butler
THIS year’s team to watch, Imperials has recruited heavily – the most of any club – and seems certain to challenge for a top four finish.
New captain Luke Henderson brings a wealth of experience to the club, while the big signing of WDCA GCL captain Daniel Hamilton comes as a major coup.
Brett Chapman from CATS will also be a big pick up.
Influential Englishman Alex Butler will be missed, but after a few years in hiatus Imps could be the bear teams should not poke this year.
Last Season: 10th
Captain: Barney Webber
Ins: Rory Hare (Ex Students)
THE return of Rory Hare will be a boost for CATS.
Barney Webber will be hoping for another big year with bat and ball to lift his team off the bottom rungs.
Last season: 11th
Captain: Jon Bell
Ins: Tim Dye (Churchill)
AFTER a good preseason the Eagles will be desperate for early success to climb up the ladder.
Youngster Tim Howe will continue to improve as will Shaun Falla.
The return of Tim Dye will bolster the batting which will be led by Jon Bell and Tim Fitch.
The availability of Brenton Howe always makes the West more competitive.
Yesterday’s heroes – 2013/14 stats
Lee Stockdale (Ex Students)
Ben Kearns (Churchill)
Greg Munro (Ex Students)
Alex Butler (Imperials)
Adrian Burgiel (Gormandale)
Stuart Anderson (Gormandale)
Michael Warne (Ex Students)
Corey Pollard (Centrals)
Adam Brady (Gormandale)
Lee Stockdale (Ex Students)