Goulburn Valley League has released its fixture ahead of next season, with the opening round set to be a doozy for Benalla.
The biggest changes heading into next year is a shift from 2 pm starts to 2.20 pm, while an interleague clash between the Goulburn Valley and Ovens and Murray leagues has been confirmed.
With round one scheduled for Saturday, April 4, Benalla will host grand finalist Echuca at Benalla Showgrounds as it looks to start Jake Pallpratt’s reign as coach under the best circumstances.
The Saints will then travel to the Den to face Seymour in a Good Friday clash, before games against Euroa and Mansfield.
After seven regular-season matches, the league has its first bye which will facilitate the interleague match.
With admittedly more pride on the line between the rival leagues, the hotly contested match will have both teams vie for the Ash-Wilson Cup.
This year, Brody Webster and Nick Warnock represented Benalla in last year’s GVL interleague match against Western Regions Football League.
Following the bye, Benalla will revisit old wounds as it hosts the team that blocked its road to finals — Rochester.
The Queen’s Birthday weekend will have Benalla heading to Deakin Reserve to take on Shepparton United, before hosting reigning premier Kyabram at the showgrounds.
After playing every team once, round 12 has the fixture come full circle and Benalla hits the road to take on Echuca again.
There are two split rounds in the back half of the fixture (rounds 13 and 16).
The Saints’ home and away season will finish with a trip to Princess Park to play Shepparton Swans before finals kick off in the last weekend of August.
In other news out of the showgrounds, Benalla has also locked up some of its best junior talents, with James Davies and Adam Walsh also signing on for next year.
Davies and Walsh took out best-and-fairest and runner-up in this year's under-18 vote count at the club.