- CAPTAIN-COACH: John Kedey.
- LAST SEASON: Fifth.
- INS: Kieran Davey (Launceston), Danny Bennett (Cressy), Thomas Langridge (Evandale), Deepak Singh (year back).
- OUTS: Shaun Woods (umpiring), Brad Solly (interstate).
ACL is looking to bounce back after bitterly missing out on a finals spot and a T20 grand final win last season.
Coach John Kedey realises the task is not going to be easy with the reduction of TCL Premier League teams from eight to six 12 months on.
Cressy, Beauty Point and Legana have all slipped back with the promotion of Beaconsfield the only addition. ACL will continue putting its faith into a long-term plan that does not include high-priced recruits to succeed.
"What it is all going to do is bring in a higher standard into our [Premier League] competition," Kedey said.
"From the four years that I have been in the competition now, each year it seems to have got better and better.
"The competitiveness is really there, so good luck to all those clubs that are doing what they're doing.
"We're trying to do it one way, but trying to create a pathway for everybody to promote our club in the best possible way we can."
ACL finished equal on wins (five) with Perth and Cressy in the tight battle for the last spot in the 40-over finals.
But the four wins behind third-placed Hadspen, who went on to pinch the grand final, shows the gap between the elite sides and the rest.
An increase from playing rivals twice to now three times ensures that ACL will have to defeat the Premier League challengers more often to remain in title contention.
"We've made sure we've recruited and retained guys that are in the right age bracket to keep the club going into the future," Kedey said.
"What we're hoping to do is play finals and be competitive in every game we do play this year, but we want to take the next step because we've been treading water the last two years, but this year we're looking at stepping it up a lot more if we can."
- CAPTAIN-COACH: Sean Barry.
- LAST SEASON: A-grade premiers (promoted).
- INS: Ramesh Nimantha (Sri Lanka), Tharushan Iddamalgoda (Sri Lanka), Amal Ranawaka (Hadspen), Ian Labrooy (Tarneit, Victoria).
- OUTS: Billy Issac (ACL injury), Nathan Lewis (year off).
Beaconsfield will bring new enthusiasm to Premier League after what was a dominant campaign in the A-grade competition.
The season was capped off with 14 wins in 16 finishes and a 110-run grand final victory. Coach Sean Barry said this season was going to be a lot tougher.
Even more than past seasons since last season's bottom three Premier League sides have all been relegated down to replace the Tamar club.
"Last season the A-grade wasn't the strongest it's been in previous years," he said.
"It was a little bit hard to read, but we were a pretty new team coming together with a lot of new recruits that included myself and a lot of other boys that came with me to the club.
"It did take us a little while to gel, but we did take that competition out reasonably comfortably in the end.
"This year will pretty much be a big step up and we've recruited for that.
"Myself and probably half of our team have played before in the Premier League, so we do know the difference between the two levels."
Beaconsfield has also followed the Sri Lankan TCL recruiting trend, signing up four players including two directly from the island nation.
The club is expecting the quartet to close the gap even further and go some way to pulling off some upset wins.
"They've all played quite a high-level cricket, probably a higher level than what we will be playing," Barry said, "so that should certainly help us to develop the team and also the club quite nicely."
- CAPTAIN-COACH: Liam Reynolds.
- LAST SEASON: Premiers (from third).
- INS: Beau Hills (Beauty Point), Dilan Jayalath (Sri Lanka), Alan Eadie (returning), Kyle Strochnetter (Trevallyn), Jona Watts (Phillip Island).
- OUTS: Brad Eames (retired), Amal Ranawaka (Beaconsfield).
Hadspen enters unfamiliar territory looking to defend its Premier League crown.
The Chieftains last tasted top-level premiership glory back in 2010-11 until they upset Longford in March.
Coach Liam Reynolds said after many years working their way to the pinnacle, nothing much would change a year on.
"We've really just got to embrace that and not become complacent after last year's effort," he said.
"The club in general, we've got a lot of improving to do. We have also probably had one of our hardest pre-seasons to date as well."
Reynolds almost went as far as saying the premiership drought-breaker that ended the Tigers' dominance was nothing more than that.
The celebrations have long been forgotten at Hadspen.
"Last year's last year - a new season doesn't mean a whole lot to that," he said.
"I don't think it means a whole lot in the new scheme of things. We just have to go out there, put every foot forward and keep heading in the right direction."
Hadspen had also taken out the A-Reserve title that not only was a "testament to the depth", but a boost to the club's confidence.
That was reflected a few moments after the Premier League win last year where everybody involved at the club embraced arm in arm in a celebratory circle to reflect on the premiership moment.
"They put in a lot of countless hours behind the scenes. There was a just reward for that, not just for the playing group," Reynolds said.
TCL Premier League top five performers
- Thanuka Dabare (Hadspen) 819 runs @63.00
- James Whiteley (Trevallyn) 527 runs @43.92
- Jackson Blair (Longford) 456 runs @50.67
- Clinton Reid (Mowbray) 439 runs @48.78
- Josh Adams (Longford) 424 runs @42.40
- Sameera Vishwaranga (Hadspen) 30 wickets @21.20
- Dilan Sandagirigoda (Longford) 27 wickets @10.11
- Max Magann (Longford) 23 wickets @10.61
- Jason Savage (Beauty Point) 23 wickets @12.77
- Kyle Strochnetter (Trevallyn) 22 wickets @13.05
- COACH: Josh Adams.
- CAPTAIN: Jackson Blair.
- LAST SEASON: Runners-up (minor premiers).
- INS: Alex Jordan (juniors).
- OUTS: Nil.
Longford is expected to use last season's painful grand final defeat to this year spur on the perennial Premier League champions.
Coach Josh Adams is philosophical the Tigers' dynasty won't just end on the back of a most brilliant 44-ball century from Hadspen star opener Thanuka Dabare.
"We have had a bloody good run for four years to win three grand finals and playoff in another one," he said.
"It's not been the end of the world and I do think we will be reasonably competitive again. Last year we ran into a good cricketer, who was too good for us on the day - that happens sometimes."
Longford still took out the Twenty20 final, the women's title, as well as B and C grade grand finals in what was a superb summer for the club.
Adams believed that sort of depth should ensure the Tigers remain one of the biggest threats in a high-quality six-team competition.
"It is probably not ideal to only have six teams, but I think it will even the competition out a bit," he said.
"The top three, four, even five teams on the day can nearly beat anyone really.
"So in that respect, it's probably going to be good for the competition."
The familiar face of Longford leadership has taken a step back - as Adams winds down his playing career.
He has handed over the captaincy to Jackson Blair so to guide the keeper-batsman.
"I have had a fair crack it and I am not going to be there forever," Adams said.
"I would like to play for another year or two. Jackson's a good up-and-coming young leader and I think he's now ready to take over."
- COACH: Paul Bunton.
- CAPTAIN: John Hayes.
- LAST SEASON: Sixth.
- INS: Josh Cairns (Evandale).
- OUTS: Ross Tulich (Launceston).
Perth has taken to a new retention policy from within on the way to aiming for a top-four spot.
The Demons have asked players loyal to the town's football club to take the next step up to Premier League.
"It's going to be a very fresh-faced Premier League team - a lot of new faces as we have managed to grab a couple of blokes that played footy to commit to cricket more," Perth vice-president Alex Suitor said.
"So we have picked up a couple of handy pick-ups for Premier League I feel.
"The new additions have been cobbled together from the A-reserve side, but have trained hard in the pre-season.
"Perth is still working on securing a commitment from a number of last season's side wary that anything less could leave a hole against the more credentialed opposition.
"There is also a couple we haven't quite retained yet, who we are still working on whether they are playing cricket at all," Suitor said.
"We are going to be competitive, but it's going to be hard against those other teams because I think they'll shape up pretty well."
- CAPTAIN-COACH: James Whiteley.
- LAST SEASON: Third (from second).
- INS: Nick Garwood (Riverside), Charles von Stieglitz (University, Hobart).
- OUTS: Clinton Reid (Mowbray), Ronnie Matthews (work).
Trevallyn got enough of a sniff of the Premier League flag last season to realise its premiership window is open.
Coach James Whiteley led the way in the middle, the left-hander last year piling on the second-most runs in the Premier League.
But it will be a more team focus that Whiteley is backing to deliver greater success.
"I'd say last year was probably our benchmark for this year again," he said.
"We had finished second, which is such a great position among some strong teams.
"It's just a matter of executing against the strong teams.
"We went out in straight sets in terms of losing the semi and the preliminary but are looking in a reduced competition to change that."
The loss of high-profile recruit Clinton Reid returning to Mowbray hurts that.
Whiteley felt other one-time NTCA signings will benefit after adapting to the TCL.
"We are better off in terms of learning how players approach short-form cricket. Just the tactics and the nuances behind it, we have our head around it and now know how the good teams set up," he said.
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