Yoogali SC will get their season underway this weekend when they take on Weston Molonglo at Solar Mad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After the disappointment of last season falling at the final hurdle, coach Luke Santolin is looking forward to attacking their first full-length season in the Capital Football competition.
"Mentally, emotionally and physically, it is going to be totally different," Santolin said.
"Last year was probably nine or 10 grand finals, so it was sort of easy in a way. But realistically, there are going to be things like suspensions, injuries, unavailability and the mental side that we have to cope with.
"This is a totally new beast for us now, so we will get tested at every level."
There will be an added incentive this season of trying to secure promotion to the NPL1 competition.
The team that finishes at the top of the table at the end of the regular season will secure a spot in the top division.
"We have never entered a competition where we didn't want to win, and it is now with the added incentive of trying to get into NPL1, which most of us got with Rhinos," Santolin said.
"We want to bring our small local club into the big time, so whether it is this year or next year, it is a goal for us, and we finally get a chance to go for it."
It has been a tough preparation for the Yoogali side with minimal preseason games, which was a problem compounded by the forfeit of UC Stars in the fourth round of the FFA Cup preliminary round.
Despite the disruptive preseason, the Yoogali coach feels his side are "chomping at the bit" to get back on the field.
"It has been a long wait to get back on the field, and the lack of preseason games has only added to that," he said.
"It has been three nearly four long months of preparation which hopefully gets unleashed on the field this Sunday.
"The boys were a bit deflated when we didn't get to play that game because we have been starved of football. Now the season back on, we have 21 games, so there is plenty of football ahead."
Yoogali SC skipper Michael De Paoli said while some players might use the grand final loss as motivation, they need to be prepared to be playing with a target on their back.
"I think some of the boys naturally will because everyone has that different personality," De Paoli said.
"Some people use that whether it be vengeance or righting wrongs and those sort of things, but the thing is we can't take back what happened last year, and we can't fix it.
"This is a new year, we have new challenges, and we have new goals, and we will be in a completely different position to what we were last year.
"Everything is different about this year, it's longer, and people know a lot more about us, and everyone has done a lot more recruiting than we have, so there are going to be challenges along the way."
The first-grade game will kick off at 3pm on Sunday.
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