ARARAT Eagles are ready to climb the ladder after a disappointing 2013 season.
The Eagles will play their opening round match tomorrow against Tatyoon, a team which beat them by nearly 200 points in their last meeting.
Coach Nathan Wemyss said the side would be more competitive tomorrow.
"We've been working hard on our structures and things like zones, which haven't really been in place in the past couple of years," he said.
"Some of the kids have stepped up and we're drilling into all of the players where they should be and what they should be doing.
"We're still a young side, and Tatyoon might push us off the ball at times, but we want to remain competitive and stay positive."
Recruits Lewis Baker and Joel Turner will debut for the club and bolster its midfield.
Wemyss said youngsters Tom Taurau, Naish McRoberts and Ben Robertson were also ready to step up.
Tomorrow also marks a big first game for Great Western. In only two seasons since coming out of recess, the Lions have shown great improvement.
The side was wooden spooner in its first year of competition in the Mininera and District Football League, but improved last year to record six wins from 18 games.
Tomorrow's first-round match against Glenthompson-Dunkeld at home will be a test to see if the improvement has continued.
The Rams finished third on the ladder in 2013, but the Lions went down by only one point in their first encounter of the season.
It was one of several matches Great Western lost by fewer than two goals.