THE Tamworth AFL competition bounces back into action today with a Tamworth twilight double header and returning Narrabri hosting two-times reigning champions New England Nomads.
The Eagles have been out of the competition for two seasons and will be very much unknowns for their opposition.
They have a core group of players that have spent the last couple of seasons plying their trade for the Bulldogs and have picked up some handy recruits from around the country.
They face the most difficult of first-round tasks though, facing a Nomads side coming off a huge win in last year’s decider.
The Nomads will have a new look this season, with two-time premiership coach Tom Granleese handing over the reins at the end of last year.
He added some much needed backbone to a talented list. His successor, Zac Economou, always plays hard and tough and will have the troops fired up and looking for early points in the premiership race.
The Swans and Inverell will kick off the Tamworth double header at 3pm.
The Swans finished outside of the top four last season but were absolutely flying late in the season, almost causing a couple of big upsets and will enter the season full of confidence.
Slow season starts have become a bit of a habit though for the Swans in recent years so the points will give them a good launching pad for the rest of the season.
The Saints marched through to their seventh grand final in a row but were handed a 20-goal shellacking and will enter this season with plenty to prove.
They do not play the short No.1 Oval well at all and must turn recent results in Tamworth around in order to get the win.
The Kangaroos and Bulldogs will follow at 5.30pm.
Both sides will be looking to bounce back from somewhat disappointing campaigns in 2013. The Roos boast a different line-up this season but still have one of the most star-studded sides in the TAFL.
Their midfield is unparalleled in terms of individual accolades. No other side in the TAFL can boast as many Gillies Medal wins.
They complement that with a hard-nosed defence.
The Bulldogs are a bit of an unknown quantity following a big player turnover from last year.
They have lost their Eagles contingent but have recruited some new players into the kennel.
They showed glimpses last season of being a quality football side, however they had a tendency to travel a little light.