THE Tamworth Swans will begin their 2019 AFL North West campaign with a trial match in Port Macquarie on Saturday.
The Swans have been hard at work in the off-season after missing the finals in 2018.
One of many exciting developments for the club has been the formation of a women's team, which will also take to the field for the first time on Saturday.
The Swans inaugural women's team recently received a helping hand in the form of $3000 from Greater Bank to go towards their 2019 season costs.
Swans head coach Paul Kelly told the Leader he was confident 2019 would be a big season for the club.
"It is really exciting for us to be heading to Port Macquarie on Saturday," Kelly said.
"This will be the first time we have ever done something like this and I think it will have a number of benefits for the whole club.
"We have a number a new players this year so I think this trip will be a great chance for them to really get to know everyone.
"Having our new women's team coming along as well will go a long way to us building the foundations of a very-strong club."
Having begun pre-season training before Christmas, the Swans have welcomed several new players to the club.
"We have been seeing some really good numbers attending training throughout the pre-season so far," Kelly said.
"Before Christmas we were seeing an average of 25 players at training and that has continued so far this year.
"Not that I have had too much to do with it, but the women's team has often had more players at training than the men, which is great."
Kelly said his side was "well placed" to go deep into the 2019 season.
"It's obviously a very-long season and anything can happen," he said.
"But I certainly think we are capable of playing finals this year if we are able to keep our players fit.
"We're not really looking to make any predictions for our season, I think we just want to keep ticking boxes like we did last year and playing finals is a box we'd like to tick this season."
The second-year coach said his club had "seen a massive turn around in the last 12 months".
"At this point last season our main priority was just trying to get enough numbers for a team to play in round one," he said.
"Compared to where we are this year with a trial game locked in, a women's side taking the field and plenty of new young guys, I'd say it's been a massive turn around.
"We have a hard working committee and I think they deserve a lot praise for helping us get to this stage."
- The Swans will begin their AFL North West 2019 season with an away game against Narrabri on April 27.