THE Northern Bombers face one of the toughest tests in State League football to start their season today with a road trip to play last year's runner-up, Burnie, at West Park.
Coach Zane Littlejohn welcomed the challenge for his team and said it would have to beat the top sides to be a competitive outfit.
"Our record at West Park has been all right and we've been competitive but haven't won," he said.
"In round 17 last year we took them right to the last kick effectively and were up with a minute to go and they kicked a goal and won by five points.
"The boys have got a bit of confidence in that respect but it's tough to play down there, especially when they are up and about."
Littlejohn said he expected Burnie to be a strong contender again in the competition.
"I know Luke Shackleton has spoken about bringing some new blood into the group to go with the experience of Laycock, Shackleton and Munday.
"They'll be pretty tough and the vibrancy of the younger guys is probably something they need those type of players now to keep them invigorated."
Littlejohn said the Northern Bombers were keen to get the season under way and the coaching panel believed it had prepared the playing group in the best way possible.
"We've worked on a few different things on how to play West Park and whether it works or not - it's all about execution now.
"The boys are pretty confident in what we've put to them and I hope they are and if they execute it well we definitely give ourselves a chance.
"It's a challenge but every game at this level is now, which is great for the competition and footy in Tassie."
Littlejohn said the pre- season had been about training the side to the way they wanted it to play and injecting the recruits into the line-up.
"We trialled a few guys in different positions and they will add a bit more depth to our group, which is exciting, but we realise it is a long season and we've got a lot of work to do now and ideally to make the finals."