LAUNCESTON State League coach Anthony Taylor knows his side will be the hunted ones this season.
But the reigning premier is not shying away from the challenge.
Taylor insists the preseason message to his players has been that they must continue to improve this season to see off opposition clubs who are intent on knocking the Blues off their perch.
``It's no different from any season - we had the motivation of the heartbreak of 2010 last year - we know we have to raise the bar and that's been our focus,'' Taylor said.
``We know opposition sides are going to come at us week in, week out, and we're under no illusions that if we don't improve, we will find ourselves on the end of some beatings.''
After tasting premiership success in 2011, Taylor said motivating his players anew in 2012 was all about re-energising, refreshing ideas around the club and introducing new blood.
He said the goal of winning back-to back flags had not been talked about but it was obviously everyone's aim.
``You've got to keep the hunger of the players up and we've got some things we'll do differently this year,'' he said.
``Last year is behind us now as great as it was - that is a memory we won't forget - but we're all looking forward to 2012.
``Every year you strive at your best to win a premiership and that is no different this year - each game is a step toward that goal.''
Taylor said from a coaching perspective, he felt challenged to do better and improve and he insisted on that mantra from his panel of assistants which this season sees former George Town NTFA premiership player-coach Anthony Axton joining Cale O'Keefe and Phil Thurlow in the Blues coaching collective.
Launceston has been fortunate to retain the majority of its premiership list from last season suggesting that it will again be a powerhouse in the competition.
Its only senior player losses have been Joe Boyce who is travelling overseas, Chris Savage who will play in the NTFA and Ryan De Visser who returned to Melbourne.
Veteran defender Gene Savage and full-forward Brian Finch contemplated retirement at the end of last season but have decided to pull on the boots again in a major boost for the club.
Add to that the return of the club's all-time leading goalkicker in Adam Derbyshire after two years out of football due to business commitments, utility Adrian Finch, plus the likes of captain Scott Stephens, Sam O'Keefe and Gary Shipton - and the Blues have an outstanding core of experienced on-field leaders.
Taylor said the Blues needed to continue to look to the future and inject younger players into their list who will be able to step up and fill the gaps when more experienced players retire.
``Recruitment-wise, we've picked up 18-year-old Will Cleeland from Melbourne, Tom Cleary has come up from Hobart, Joe Krushka from Scottsdale, and of course Adam Derbyshire and Adrian Finch are back playing,'' he said.
``We've got seven Tassie Mariners who are all a year older this year and I think our list will be stronger.''
The Blues have lost former Colts players Isaac McCrimmon, Tim Curwen and Will Stoltenberg, and Taylor said the club would need to continue to build its depth in the colts to maintain pressure for senior spots.
Predicting where their main opposition would come from this season was hard atsuch an early, but he expected the likes of Burnie, Clarence and Lauderdale to be big challengers.
``Burnie has had a positive off season with the recruits they've picked up,'' he said.
``There is a lot of talk out of Lauderdale and they are very confident and rating themselves a pretty good chance.
``Clarence and North Hobart are always tough and the Northern Bombers have improved - I think the competition is only going to be tighter as a whole.''
INS AND OUTS
INS: Will Cleeland (Vic), Tom Cleary (Glenorchy), Marcus Lee (South L'ton), Adam Derbyshire and Adrian Finch (returning).
OUTS: Joe Boyce (Travelling), Chris Savage (NTFA), Ryan de Visser (Vic).