The home ground clash will be an early measure of the talent pool the Coutas have acquired over the off-season.
It will also represent something of a baptism of fire for the league’s youngest coaching duo – Johnno Casey and Andrew Hodgson.
“I can’t wait to be perfectly honest,” said Casey. “Pre season is always a long one and it’s always good and exciting to get to round one but obviously at a new club it’s even more exciting. I’m nervous at the same time.
“Coming up against the best side in the competition in round one is a bit of a challenge but you’ve got to play them at some point and it’s probably going to give us a good idea early as to where we are at,” he said.
The Coutas go in with a fully fit line up – apart from stalwart defender Stephen Owen who has suffered a setback with the shoulder injury that sidelined him for much of last season.
The side has been bolstered with the return of former premiership players Daniel Gibbs, Daniel De Gois and Jayden Durran and the inclusion of new recruits Jason Graham (Bell Park), Kaden Newton (Colac) and Josh Black (Colac).
Having finished seventh last year, ending a glory triple premiership run, Casey says the aim is to make the finals.
"Revitalised is a good word for the team, we’ve had a strong pre-season and we’ve added a lot of speed to the side and some very subtle changes to the game plan.
"Everybody is really excited, the numbers at training have been fantastic and I think everybody is really on board,” Casey said.
“Having missed out last year our number one goal at the moment is to get the Coutas back into the finals. Realistically I think we’ve got a great opportunity to challenge the top two sides but we don’t want to set our goals too high. We want to get to the finals and any better than that is an absolute win for us. “