Riverina Lions captain Amy Coote has played down expectations that the experienced club will be a force to be reckoned with in this year's Southern NSW AFL women's competition.
The new season was launched at AFL House on Wednesday with much excitement surrounding the new competition with the inclusion of new teams from North Wagga, East Wagga-Kooringal and Narrandera.
Seven clubs will participate in this year's series, that gets underway on Friday night, with Charles Sturt University (CSU) chasing a third consecutive premiership.
Rival clubs were quick to name the Lions as an expected force on Wednesday but Coote shot down any talk of that.
"I'm not going to say we're prepared at all," Coote said.
"We haven't got a coach yet, we haven't had a ground to train at. We're not really prepared at all for this Southern NSW comp."
Coote said the Lions will use the seven-week competition as pre-season for the AFL Canberra season, that starts in April.
"Yeah it will be our pre-season really, just to get a bit of a feel for the footy, get some skills up and bit of momentum going for the Canberra comp," she said.
"At the start of the year we weren't sure if we were going to have a team in this comp, due to it being such a long season. It turns out to be about 22 weeks of football and that can be a little bit tough on the older bodies."
The Lions will open their season with a trip to Lockhart to take on Brookdale Bluebells.
Brookdale Bluebells vice-captain Claire Lane hopes the appointment of Shane Lenon as coach can help her club register their maiden victory this season.
"We've been training hard and with Sparks as coach we've got a few new structures that we're doing and he's teaching us all of his Sparks magic," Lane said.
"We didn't get a win last season so we're hoping to at least get one win this year and go from there.
CSU has the bye to open the season but experienced footballer Gab Goldsworthy is confident they will again be around the mark.
"The core group that have been in Wagga and have been coming along to training have really been progressing nicely," Goldsworthy said.
"The start of last year in our pre-season, it felt like the girls were learning how to kick and catch again but when we started this year, we really kind of picked up where we left off at the end of the season so I feel like we're really stepping up another level, which is really exciting."