Two sides looking to improve on disappointing 2019 division one campaigns kick off the 2021 season with an under-lights clash a fortnight before their rivals.
Perth hosts Old Scotch in a battle of two young and improving sides who have seen a strong change in their lists from their last full season.
The Thistles competed in last season's NTFA Shield as the Magpies had the year off, with the latter itching to get back into senior football.
Coach: Brayley Coombes
Captain: Jonty Swallow
Previous results: semi-finals (2020 shield), 9th (2019)
Ins: John McKenzie (Maribynong Park, returning), Jock Darke (Hutchins, returning), Aiden Jackman, Tim Casey.
Outs: Alec Fotheringham (New South Wales).
"We had a few ex-Scotch schoolboys that played last year ... a few of them have gone back to Melbourne but whether they are completely lost to the club is up in the air at the moment," Coombes said.
Last year was really positive but we are not disillusioned that it was a reduced format, not every club had their strongest list.
We were really happy with how last year went, we made some really big inroads but prior to that we are coming off a couple of years of not even playing finals footy, which is a bit of a dent in our egos from where we've been in years past.
We are just really focused on trying to get ourselves back into the finals and see where it can take us.
Obviously John's wealth of experience playing at a very high level on the mainland is going to help us improve in leaps and bounds.
Already on the track he's leading by example and the boys have been absolute sponges to him in terms of what he brings from a leadership perspective.
From a playing perspective, he's going to be a really great asset to our midfield and can really play anywhere.
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Coach: Danny Bennett
Captain: Jake Cairns
Previous results: 8th (2019)
Ins: Jakob Williams, Will Haley, Joel Murray, Colby Granger, Jordan Eyles, Ben Elmer, Jake Smith.
Outs: Jake Williams, Callum Peck, Brad Basiuk, Daniel Connell, Lachlan Bellinger.
We've looked at the club going forward and we've decided to recruit young again - we are looking to the future.
These guys have played development league footy and most of them have come from North Launnie, so they've come from a good system and a good culture.
They've been taught the right way so they've been tremendous for us on the training track with the rest of our young guys on setting the standard and setting the example.
For us, we are aiming to play finals footy this year. We all have the belief that the group we've got can definitely take us to that level.
As long as we worry about sticking to our structures and our game plans, we think that will put us in good stead to be very competitive this season with most sides.
We had a few of our blokes play with other clubs last year but most of our team just had the season off and we got into training a little bit earlier, so we've probably had an extended pre-season more so than a lot of the other clubs that have played.
- Previews for the NTFA's other sides will feature in The Examiner before April 10's round one