FOOTBALL returns in the North Gippsland Football-Netball League this weekend.

Like every new season, there’s hope sprawling across the competition.

Every club has their ambitions, with new and returning faces to redeem or reaffirm their side’s performance from last season.

REIGNING premier, Traralgon Tyers United face off against Woodside in the Grand Final rematch.

The Wildcats, under new coach Michael Stockdale, will be chomping at the bit to upset the Bombers as they unfurl their 2023 senior premiership flag in front of their home crowd.

There will be obstacles for TTU as they await their premiership defence. Jack Brown enters the year for the first time as the sole head coach, after being accompanied by Jamie Aitken during their run to the premiership last season.

They’ll be the obvious team to beat throughout the year, with other teams underlining their chance against the premiers with an added level of vigour and preparation.

SALE CITY hosts Cowwarr, in a clash between two revamped sides.

The prodigal son has returned for the Bulldogs, with multiple senior premiership player and former coach, Jacob Schuback warmly back to The Kennel as senior coach.

Schuback has brought with him some remarkable recruits that will likely push the Bulldogs back into the finals race.

Jayden Allison has come on board as assistant coach from Sale, while Kane Martin, Cooper Whitehill, Daine McGuinness and Jordan Sandeman have also made the move down Guthridge Parade.

As for Cowwarr, they equally have made some ground in the recruiting ranks, namely with the signing of playing co-coach, Keenan Hughes, arriving from Yallourn Yallourn North.

Hughes brings with him some needed talent to try and lift Cowwarr from near the bottom of the ladder. Joining him in this quest is Haydn Hector from Traralgon, Zac Tactor from Swifts Creek, young Robbie Farnham from Bairnsdale, and big-time player Alex Saunders, having previously played for Casey Scorpions in the VFL.

Two clubs not to be taken lightly, this will be a highly entertaining game with both clubs filled with new-found life and prospects for season 2024.

ANOTHER couple of hopeful risers are showcased with Glengarry at Gormandale.

Again, both sides debut new coaching outfits, with the Tigers appointing Josh Monacella across from Newborough in the Mid Gippsland FNL, and the Magpies calling up captain Alex Bermingham as head honcho.

These two youthful sides will be looking to make noise throughout the year and see steady improvement overall.

HEYFIELD will be out for blood this year as they begin their campaign against Rosedale at home.

Both sides moved through the off season retaining most of their list. Heyfield has been in the mix for quite some time now (but hasn’t got back to the big dance since 2016 and hasn’t gone all the way since 2012). Rosedale meanwhile usually hover around the top five from year-to-year.

The Kangaroos should get up, but it will be an intriguing opener.

YARRAM takes on Churchill at home in what is tipped to be a tight contest between two equally matched opponents.

Demons coach, Boadie Motton is re-equipped with talent after narrowly missing out on finals last year.

Churchill sees returning senior coach, Jordan Fenech at the helm.

Fenech will be supported in the box by big recruit Ashley Di Ciero. Originally from Warragul, Di Ciero has had a stint with Williamstown in the VFL. His brother, Luke also played for Sale briefly.

With many re-signings and some smaller moves, the Cougars look ready for a bounce-back year.

YALLOURN Yallourn North has the bye.