BALLARAT Eureka Strikers kick off their Football Federation Victorian women’s state league 1 campaign away to Lara United on Sunday.
While Strikers do not have any debutants, they have named a select group of teenagers top line up.
Lily McLean, 17, Claire Demuth, 16, and Kate Lyons, 16, have been added to the combination which ended the Strikers’ 2015 campaign.
McLean featured in the team early last season before struggling with injury.
She has re-staked a claim at right back.
Midfielder Demuth convincingly won the club’s development squad best and fairest last year as well as making a number of starts and substitute appearances in the seniors.
The biggest change comes in goals with Lyons, who had one start last year. She is stepping into the spot left vacant by Jasmina Zdelar.
After being undefeated and winning the league in 2015, the Strikers are bullish about their capacity to do well again.
Ballarat retains a strong youth component, but this group is starting to grow in experience, with Hannah Kozaris, 17, Erin Plucke, 16, and Nat Barbara, 16, all entering their third season as regulars in the seniors.
They have been allowed to flourish and develop with support by a core group of Holly Williamson, Millie Martin, Tessa Curtain, Lulu Al-Huneidi and Alyson Pym.
Substitutes will be selected from the development squad. Bree Coombes has made a claim to debut for Eureka with a strong showing in the cup tie.
Tess Meaden, who has returned after a year in Brazil, is also likely to make an appearance, along with returning players Jas Emselle, Georgia Morgan and Lisie Dodds.
The first game will provide an interesting test for the Strikers, with Lara United being coached by former Ballarat development coach Tony Horrocks and featuring ex-Lady Devils players Chelsea and Emily Bickerton, Courtney Farrell, Tina Benoit, Sam King and Miki Tatlic.